We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog post…

So this is off-topic for me.

In August I had to have a biopsy – and everything is fine, no worries.

But it raised more questions for me about my doctor’s practice and what it means to be pro-active in light of insurance costs and the level of support you may or not receive for being pro-active.

To save space, I’m going to bullet-point a timeline

July 

  • Mammogram shows “something” and I have to repeat it.
  • My physician, a breast cancer survivor, tells me it could be microcalcification but protocol would be radiation and chemo (Tamoxifil) for 5 years. But it might not be.
  • All I hear is “chemo and radiation” and that my hair won’t fall out. I worry about what happens to mom if something happens to me. (Yes, overreaction)

August

  • Meet with surgeon, he is very reasonable and says 80/20 it’s nothing but needs to be biopsied because I haven’t had a mammogram in six years.
  • I refuse to be shamed, and remind him he just told me that it could’ve been there six years ago or six weeks ago. And that there is no history in my family. I am feeling confident this is not cancer.
  • Show up for what is billed to me as a simple biopsy with a local anesthesia. I am clamped to the table. After 35 minutes they determine they cannot do it like this because the microcalcifications lie on a blood vessel.
  • Leave hospital and get to work. Get phone call my mom’s fallen and rush her to the other hospital where we spend the day in the ER
  • Worry about what is going on with mom’s falling every two weeks, email brother and sister to please either come home and be with mom while I am out of commission (sister) or visit her and be able to take her to ER if necessary (brother.)
  • Receive self-help cd’s from sister, with cheery note that Universe will reward me for caring for my parents. Brother refuses. Period.
  • Write letter to Staff Nurse at mom’s facility, explaining situation and asking them to call my cousin in emergency. Cousin agrees to spend day with mom.
  • Show up for surgery. Get a guide wire inserted with a local (1 hour  Boob Ka Boob! They do not think I am funny) wait 3 hours for surgery (1 hour).
  • Surgeon tells my husband nothing to lose sleep over, which I am thankful for because I believed it was just an anomaly and husband was quietly freaking out)
  • Nurse calls the next day to see how I am, I say great, taking some Tylenol because pain meds are too strong. She demurs, and says I should take Advil, then I can still take the Hydrocodone. Mmmmm. No.
  • I am glad I am ok, but starting to get ticked.
  • Nurse calls and confirms the micros are “benign” but warns me that the doctor will explain what this means when I see him. Her tone of voice was a little ominous.
  • Getting more ticked because I know what “benign” means, and because I researched microcalcifications before they cut.
  • Visit surgeon who asks if nurse told me results. I say “yep, all good under the hood.” He chuckles then tells me about actuarial tables that give percentage of chance of cancer and why insurance won’t pay for MRI for me. Because, you know. I’m healthy, but still need to get a six month mammogram.
  • Visit my regular doctor. We disagree on how this all happened with the biopsy. She notes my blood pressure still higher than she likes, changes my .5 Lisinipril to .10. I say nothing because I am done with this.

I check my blood pressure all weekend – it is 133/82.

So that’s a lot of bullet points. The upshot for me is, since my regular doctor joined some large network, and went to computer/digital formats, the service aspect has fallen off. This was a woman who previously cheered and supported my holistic approach to my health. Now she is writing a higher rx for something that is probably the result of my own frustration and anger. Her nurse asked me if I had ever had a biopsy and if I was going to do the bone density testing. I hardly knew how to answer that. “Yes, I had a biopsy two weeks ago.” “What kind” she didn’t bother to look up from her computer.I wondered if I was supposed to tell her they cut, or they couldn’t do the one with the local – I forgot the name. “The kind where they check for cancer.”  “No, where” “Breast” So, yeah, I’m irritated. This is the office that ordered it six weeks ago, when I was in there.

I am not at all advocating you stop any rx without consulting your doctor. But for me, increasing this rx means it will be harder to get off of it. My plan is to cut the pills in half, monitor my BP and find a naturopath to use any herbs that may help. This is a personal decision and your experience may be different!

However, I cannot go along with something that makes me feel like I’m being funneled into an insurance and health system that only looks at the bottom line or actuarial tables for my care. I am very disappointed, but I am angry too.

 

Dream Guidance, a Process

I am following up on an exercise in Robert Moss’s book Conscious Dreaming. I am only a couple chapters into the book so this isn’t a book review, just an example of an exercise and how I am working with it.

One of the reasons I am working more fully with my dreams at this time, is an effort to heal the anger and frustration that is simmering within me. This is a result of parental caretaking over that last two years, dealing with medical and insurance paperwork, and a lifetime of people pleasing/not saying “no”/not believing in myself patterns.

So I am incubating dreams on this subject of healing that pattern. I am boiling the situation down to this phrase “I want direction and guidance on healing the anger and self-deprecating patterns in order to fully enjoy my life.” That actually took some time to figure out.

Let me stop right here and say that in this book, Mr. Moss will do exactly this: state the problem he wishes to receive guidance on, then he proceeds to tell us the symbols and coincidences that validate the dream or answer his questions. He says that the answers may not come immediately, but the answers he receives are clear to him, and provide guidance. What he doesn’t write, is about all the symbols and signs that are false-starts. I am telling you this because I don’t want anyone to think that I get instant perfect answers. No one does, and Mr. Moss doesn’t write about all the “maybe this” “maybe that” signs that appear. That would be boring and confusing.

So, the first two nights of dreaming had a pattern of “tables.” The first night had a black and red one that I loved that was empty, and while I was admiring it, a tall woman snapped at me that I wasn’t paying attention to her. The second night, there were many tables involved in my work, all filled with lovely crafts made by others, but with no room for me.

*My take on this is trying to find “my” table for myself – my space.

Now last night was a horse of different color.

I have always titled my dreams, written them out, then recorded any feelings that they evoked at the time I dreamed them. This is in line with the exercise in the book. So, here is:

Peggy Lost the Fighting Tarantulas.

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My friend Peggy from work, is in a kitchen space that looks very similar to the one in the house I grew up in. The lighting is dim, it feels like evening. I am watching Peggy crouch down. She has two tarantulas, one dark and one that is tan and brown. She wants them to fight. I am hyper alert, but totally still because I do not like spiders and what is she doing with two tarantulas, anyway?

The tarantulas are pretty much ignoring each other, then with her hand, she brushes the tan one into the dark one to provoke a fight. The two bristle and show their fangs and grow to the size of baseballs.

I internally want to scream and feel my eyes growing wide at this.
Something in the other room distracts me. In my old house, this is the dining room area, and I am aware of people in the dining and living rooms. I step out to deal with something, then return. Peggy has lost sight of the tarantulas. “Oh well” she shrugs. She steps away. Now I am very worried. Where are they? In what crevice or dark corner are they lurking?

The people have made these crochet/knitted type of barriers, they are about 18” tall and are to fit across each of the three doorways. I am holding a bright blue one, with three doll heads and strands of yarn hanging down. We hope the tarantulas will come out and get on these yarn barriers and be caught.

  • I am afraid of spiders,
  • My friend Peggy is notoriously unorganized and lets daily tasks slide in favor of reading or anything else. In her defense, she did have a small stroke a couple years ago.
  • I know the shamanic meaning of tarantula includes trusting your intuition, balancing strength and weakness.
  • I don’t care. I am still afraid of spiders.
  • I am highly organized and efficient
  • I am afraid of conflict but will fight for what I believe in
  • Then I will be exhausted and second-guess myself.

In following up on your dreams – since this was less than clear to me, probably because of my throbbing fear of tarantulas – I stated my intention that the first odd thing I saw, would be an answer to what the dream meant.  This is where it gets tricky. I am now alert for signs. On my dawn patrol walk I encountered:

  • A nice looking young man running with no shirt on. Very unusual but not at all sure this meant anything.
  • Man teaching his German Shepherd to fetch and come. My first thought “You have to leash your dog in this park, glad I didn’t bring Miss Penny.” Only fit my OCD problem with following rules.
  • I wore tan outfit to work, I just realized this as I am writing, am I the tarantula?

 

I am going to marinate this for awhile and see if my dream is showing me that I have gotten pushed into some “fight or flight” adrenaline over home stuff or old stuff. Tonight I will ask for clarification on this. I appreciate the dream showing me what is, but I want to see the guidance. It’s a process, so I am not giving up on this theme. I really want the Universe to show me some Out-Of-Box thinking to get my life back on a joyful track.

 

Today’s Oracles

For the past couple days I have been asking for signs about things on my mind.

Today I forgot to do that, but because I am open to hearing and seeing signs (see Sidewalk Oracles from yesterday) I recognized three signs.

I hit “shuffle” on my playlist when I drove to work and the first three songs were:

Changes in Latitude, Jimmy Buffet

You’ll Never Walk Alone, Rogers and Hammerstein

Pocketful of Sunshine, Natasha Bedingfield

This is pretty typical of how I receive oracles – through music. I remember shortly after my dad died, I turned on the radio and “My Special Angel” came on first.

Totally not surprised that I was answered,  but I said “yes! thank you!”

I definitely am working on changing my attitude, thank you ancestors and spirits for supporting me, and it is indeed a beautiful sunny day. But even if were cloudy, the sunshine comes from within.

 

 

 

Sidewalk Oracles

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I want to recommend  Sidewalk Oracles by Robert Moss. I first heard about him through some friends, who were also interested in the messages we receive from dreams. Mr. Moss has studied dreams and dreaming,  and based on my friends’ recommendation, I read Dreamgates earlier this year.

And because I tend toward OCD on subjects, I ordered several other of his books. (Book-aholics! Please check out Better World Books for free shipping and to help their literacy project.)

I have always been a strong dreamer and have kept a journal that includes my dreams, for many, many years. Dreams have always fascinated me and I often receive helpful, albeit sometimes cryptic, information from them. I will let you know how the two other books are when I finish them.

So back to this one.

Sidewalk Oracles is an easy read, I was able to finish it over a weekend. There’s a lot of Mr. Moss’s personal story interspersed throughout the book, but it gives you a framework for the information he presents. The meat of the book, for me, was the chapter on asking for, and recognizing, the everyday oracles that are available.

If you’re into this kind of material, you won’t be too surprised by the content. But, I learned new things and new ways of receiving information and validations. If you’re on the cusp about this, check out Robert Moss’s blog and website. He is also on Facebook and posts some of his blog material there.

 

 

Trolling

Looky what I found! A Troll Doll.  Throw Back and good memory.

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For no good reason, Troll dolls popped up in my memory several months ago. I remember them from the 1970’s. You could get pencil topper trolls, and by the end of the fad, they came dressed in various professional garb: Doctors, nurses, etc.

Every once in a while I’d think about Trolls, more from nostalgia, like “oh that was a carefree time wasn’t it?” (Ignoring that I was an insecure teen and scared of most people.)

John and I stopped at an antique shop on Friday. He always finds cool little things. Or big things like the milk container on our front porch. Anyway, I was wandering through this maze of a store, and I found this Troll doll. I was nearing the end of my interest in walking around and looking, and for some reason remembered about Troll dolls. In the next cubby, was a pencil topper troll, and on the other side, four Troll dolls.

Ok, it’s a neat coincidence but why bring it up?

About a month ago, the shaman-study group did some ancestor work. One of the exercises came from Frank MacEowen’s book “The Spiral of Memory and Belonging.”book In the exercise, I stepped back in to four successive generations of my ancestors” my dad, his father, his father’s mother and then her father. The purpose was to feel what those people felt, to learn something about their motivation or their lives, in order to see our own lives a little clearer.

What I learned from this, was there was an overwhelming sense of duty to support the family. I felt my great-grandmother Christine scrubbing clothes on a washboard while her child played in a field. There was a sense of not being able to “look up” from her work. I felt my grandfather walking the street home from a job, burdened with trying to feed eight children during the Depression. The focus on work to sustain the family. I felt my Dad being one of eight, and the need to do better, make sure we were fed and sheltered. There was such a sense of working to ensure survival.

And then there was my great-grandmother’s father. This man’s energy was bright and hopeful. He loved horses, and dreamed of escaping the town for the country.

What does this have to do with finding the Troll? I believe it was a gift from my ancestors to remind me that I don’t have to work to survive. That this legacy of determination has served me well in the care of my dad and mom over the last several years, and in my drive to always have a job, even when my husband was laid off. I can always draw on that.

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Ancestor Barbie says “Hi!”. Someone in the line was a comedian.

But, they are reminding me that it is ok to play and be whimsical now and then.

This is the second time a toy like this has crossed my path. About five years ago, for whatever reason, I found a Kangaroo Beanie Baby at a flea market. I walked past it, and went back because when I was a little kid, I had a kangaroo stuffed animal, just about that size, named Matilda.

You may be getting some nudging too. I’m telling you, these things are really subtle and easily dismissed. It does take tuning into yourself to listen to those quiet thoughts, and that’s a practice. It is totally worth it though.

 

 

Managing Expectations

I have a lot of expectations.

I didn’t think that was true, but when I stopped and thought about it, I realized that almost all my assumptions and decisions are based on a set of expectations.

I expect hot water when I turn on the shower.

I expect the coffee maker to work.

Rephrase it, and it’s more like “I assume I will have hot water. I assume the coffee maker will work. I expect to have coffee in the morning.”

I “assume things” based on past experiences. I think we all do (maybe I am assuming here, too.)

When our expectations aren’t met, you get to choose from a long buffet of emotional reactions that, hopefully, lead to a constructive plan of action. Or not. We’ve all been the witness to some spectacular toddler meltdowns over small issues. Small to us, not to the toddler, obviously. Watching such a meltdown can cause a visceral reaction for any spectator.

Anyway, I normally handle things pretty evenly, and I say this, based on the assumption that I have: A) gotten enough sleep regularly, B) eaten normally i.e., regular meals of real food and C) am maintaining some kind of exercise for my body and relaxation for my mind.Shout out to All About Healthy Choices

Losing out on any of those components will throw off my perspective and cause me to mentally make a mountain out of a molehill. And while my meltdowns are not as spectacular as a two-year old’s , they are still damaging to me because I am internalizing a wicked dialogue accompanied by strong emotions. So, I might as well be drinking acid.expections

Case in point: My sister is coming home

My sister lives 400 miles away, and visits twice a year, for approximately 36 hours. This has gone on for several years, encompassing the time my dad was ill and dying. She has traveled world-wide, both alone and with her family, and is not tied down by a job or her teenage sons.

I told her mom really needed more company, and that I was overwhelmed with the many post-hospital appointments that I had to miss work for. Awwww….she felt bad she couldn’t be here to help. I received two Mala bracelets blessed by the Buddhist monastery, and a renewal of the Health and Happiness Candle she lit for me.

Were my expectations met: Yes, my sister lived down to my expectations.

Is this a passive-aggressive post: Yes, I am not above that, Sorry.

Am I having a wicked internal dialogue and choking on my acid reflux: No, because I have done A, B and C above.

Now my buffet of choices is simple: do I carve time out of my day to see my sister, knowing I am making a choice to do so, and to not be an asshole to her? Or do I not worry about this choice because no one else is.

best choiceThe smartest thing someone told me recently was, it was not my responsibility to fix every thing for everyone. So we’ll see. I am not stressing about it.

 

 

 

Summer Solstice Grid

Today is Summer Solstice and a full moon. My annual practice is to gather all my stones and crystals and put them outside, near my garden, to recharge them. And to give them a rest from me.

Last year I made an error of judgement by putting my himalayan salt wand in with the group. The dew disintegrated most of it onto the other stones, and to the chain of a pendant.  Lesson learned!

Some of my stones were already involved in a new grid, and I left the grid intact. Many of these stones carry the property of not needing a cleansing, particularly the kyanite and the selenite, and the rest have not been used for a specific purpose that would require cleansing. I just like to give them the break to be outside, in the sun and moon, and honor them.

So, back to the grid.image

I don’t do a lot of grids, but later this summer, the RNC is coming to Cleveland,

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Shout out to Cleveland Cavaliers 2016 NBA Champions

not all that far from my home. As with any large gathering of people, there is going to be a lot of energy coming from the city, and I want my home and area to stay calm and peaceful, so I constructed a grid designed for this purpose.

If you aren’t a crystal enthusiast, you may wonder what the heck I mean. They’re rocks right?  Well, there’s a couple things going on here. All matter vibrates. Crystals and stones also carry vibrations. My main source is Melody’s “Love is the Earth” book, (Melody is a geologist who conducted tests on the rocks/crystals) but she is one of many reliable resources for gems, stones and crystals. Buying a crystal, alone, won’t change much, but working with them, with intention, will bring results. ( I know, is it the stone or your intention? HA Chicken or egg? )

So, since I am have historically been very bad about setting boundaries, I wanted to set a boundary for any crappiness that oozed away from the convention. Do I worry that an errant supporter will come to my house? No, I have a fence for that. I am talking about the kind of energy that makes people less aware of their surroundings, and results in fender-benders and careless accidents. That, I don’t want to infiltrate.

Now about my grid. It’s placed on a mandala I made from – ta da – my favorite childhood toy, Spirograph        61sZ7FLlbnL._AC_UL115_.

The center stone is a selenite wand to hold the space of highest vibration. Surrounding it are stones for several intentions. Black stones are grounding, so there are four in a circle to ground any errant energy that come flying near us. There’s a kyanite and several hematite in this grid, plus one is a snowflake obsidian.The pink stone is rhodochrosite, for healing and love, the blue is lapis lazuli, for righteous speech, the orange is carnelian, for the highest level of creativty.  They are connected by clear quartz points, who act as amplifiers to that energy. There is one smokey quartz wand in there – this is also a stone that alleviates negative energy.
My point here is to stress that what you set as an intention, does matter. Will these stones, alone, prevent something weird from occuring? No. But by having a visual reminder of my intention-right speech, compassion, creativity and safety- I am setting myself up for a successful experience. Ps. You can just pick up a fine looking rock, and have a great experience working with it.

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RAOK

So… tragic week in U.S. again. Still.

This isn’t going to bring anyone back, and it surely won’t change any laws-gun or LGBT protection – but it usually brings a spark of light into a pretty dismal world. Today, practice a Random Act of Kindness.

Smile at the checkout clerk, pet a dog, pickup some trash, give a couple bucks to the sad-looking teen or oldster who’s sitting by themselves. Offer them a smile too. When you’re heart is breaking, offer a piece to the person next to you.

Last week I was missing my dad. A lot. And out of no where, someone gifted me with a hand-made Hamsa (shaman’s hand, healing hand).Kitchen 2

Several weeks ago, she had heard me say that I collect them, thought of me, and brought it to a meeting. I was really overwhelmed, not just by her kindness, but by the fact that I know my dad was hearing me miss him, and this was his way of hearing me.

So last Friday, a friend posted that it would have been her brother’s birthday, the first birthday since he had died this winter. She had some plans for her mom, because it was going to be a really tough day for her. Her mom, Mary, is my neighbor, and this loss…well, burying a child…there are no words.

Anyway, for some reason I remembered this bracelet I had purchased last fall that had angel wings, hearts and green stones. It was intended as a gift, but never made it out of the house at Christmas. I stuck it in my pocket when we walked Miss Penny, and thought I’d give it to Mary if I saw her out walking. Well, I didn’t see her and had some errands to run, so we we drove over to a small town for some produce. And there was Mary buying apples.

Coincidence? I don’t thinks so. After a hug, I tucked it in her hand. I think we both knew it was from Joe, her son. But we didn’t need to say that. So, my day got 100% brighter, and maybe her grief lifted 1%, but that’s ok.

Here’s my challenge: go RAOK like mad this week. It won’t make up for what’s happened to the Orlando families, but it will make you feel at least 1% better.

 

Who are you listening to?

I was following a conversation on social media (lurking). The writer expressed concern over the tone of our political process. Could this mood of fear and anger be released? Is there an answer ? How do we move forward?

90% of the replies included aspects of “think positive” “embrace love” and “good triumphs.” A small minority felt that while positive thought was a good thing, it needed to be backed up with action, that simply wishing away the “bad things” didn’t make it happen.

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I am in the small minority section. Keeping peace in your heart and compassion in your soul is 100% “a good thing” and not just for your blood pressure. But stopping there is like blessing the spoiled milk in your refrigerator and then drinking it. It’s still going to make you ill. Because it’s spoiled milk.

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This attitude, that if you’re perpetually IN THE LIGHT, that all will be well, ranks right there with my opinion of “do what you love and the money will follow.” You have to make a difference. It’s the same with magic, yes intent is 90% of the work, but there’s that 10% that you have to actually get off your rear-end and do the work. That might mean, networking the heck out of everyone to get the job that you will love, or it might mean fertilizing and weeding the garden you planted or it might mean working at the grass-roots level of a political process to ensure the change you want to see.

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So back to the conversation. There were many thoughtful replies, but there was also a die-hard person who insisted that even talking about this, brought in negative vibrations. This person insisted, in shorter and shorter replies, that anything remotely dark or negative, should be avoided at all costs.

Now, if you’re familiar with pagan circles you know there’s a strong element within most traditions of acknowledging that there is darkness, (not a devil, that is a Christian concept). Period. It exists in many forms. (John Lasher Lamb wrote of archons  for more information see “Not in His Image”)

Shamanism works with energies and spirits, and encountering a dark or angry spirit is just a reality. They exist. But you don’t ignore them and hope they go away. You go to someone who can deal with them. Or you do it yourself.

By the end of the conversation, the die-hard was telling people to ask The Council of Fire and another entity, I don’t remember the name. Because they had given him the instructions and all could benefit from their answers.

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This comes to my second point. Who are you listening to? There’s a ton of channeled information out there, from the Seth Material to Michael to  A Course in Miracles. Not all channeled material is equal or of a high vibration. It’s like your TV, lots of channels, various content.

I surely support each of us on our path, whatever deities we may embrace or compassionate allies may walk with us. But there are tricky energies out there and they can be smooth operators. They’ll tell you what you want to hear and lead you down the garden path. And they’re not all discarnates. We’ve all met a snake-oil salesman in various forms. No different on the spirit plane.

 

Gods of Small Things That Make Us Happy

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I have a bone to pick with the phrase “Do what you love and the money will follow.”

This is nothing new on my end, and smarter people than I have tackled this in their blogs. Many blame it on the book and film “The Secret.” It certainly resurrected after that. But I digress.

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A friend told me she felt like a failure because her art hadn’t turned into a viable source of income. Since this was an email conversation, it took longer to express my opinion. But the short version is, just because you love doing something, doesn’t mean you can or should monetize it.

That’s a real short-coming in the American culture – that we need to monetize something to show it’s – or our- worth.

Would she stop creating just because she couldn’t quit her day job to do this full-time? And if she could, would it be as rewarding? That’s a question everyone has to answer who tries to start a business from a hobby they love.

I think the idea is, if you love doing something/creating something/daydreaming etc., it makes the work you do to support that activity, feel less like work.

It’s a shame so many of us feel we have to justify something we love to do, by trying to turn it into a business. For each successful cupcake entrepreneur, there are hundreds of disappointed bakers who couldn’t make it work as a business.

But there are thousands of happy bakers enjoying their creations and sharing them with friends and family.

This is the camp I fall in.

I won’t be quitting my day job, which by the way, I enjoy. It’s highly unlikely I will have some sort of healing or animal communication business. But I am a great resource for my friends and family. Maybe we need to be Gods of Small Things That Make Us Happy, and trust the ripple effect to bring joy and satisfaction to ourselves. And that might be enough.

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