Life~

What A Wild Ride!

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Are you feeling a bit like you just came through the eye of the storm? Me too.

The recent full moon eclipse in my sun sign of Aquarius has really wiped me out emotionally, physically and mentally. I spent most of the weekend sleeping and eating. It felt like I was grounding out A LOT of energy, like years worth of energy.

All of the advice I read from the powers that are plugged into the cosmic soup reported that we all would feel a major shift and need to practice some down time and self care. I do take in the forecasts but also listen to my own peculiar rhythm of living.

What I noticed most about me during this shift was how calm I was during it all. I attribute this state to my recent decision to accept what comes and release as much control as my controlling nature will allow. I truly do believe that my own misery arises from my resistance to that which I cannot control.

Seems easy enough, just give up control or roll with the flow as they say. It isn’t easy at all. Giving up control may be one of the hardest things I have ever done and I am not even sure that it is done. Maybe, maybe not. See how I gave up control over giving up control?

Love yourself today. Feed your body good food. And rest. The world will sort itself out without your worry. Maybe, maybe not.

Up For Grabs

The MeToo movement has made and continues to make major waves in the world. Victims of sexual assault and abuse coming forward with their accounts has brought public awareness to a rampant undercurrent of sexual violence that women have lived with silently for centuries. Coinciding with this movement I have been on my own healing journey through counseling, engaging with how my own boundaries have been crossed in my past and sexual assault. It is incredibly powerful and healing to put sexual assault or misconduct into words both written and spoken.

As a young girl I witnessed my brother on two separate occasions with two different girls pull down their pants. I was 9 yrs old the first time, he was 8 yrs old.  My brother opened the bathroom door too many times to count while I was using it. When we were adults in our 30’s and a group of us went on a cruise to Mexico, he pulled up my skirt and exposed me in front of our group of family and friends and all the surrounding guests on a cruise ship.

I didn’t do or say anything about the abuse. Ever. Neither did the family and friends that witnessed it. It was normalized. I grew up with my boundaries being assaulted every. single. day. It was normal to me for my brother to do whatever he wanted to me. I won’t even begin on the verbal and emotional abuse that happened daily as well.

This is sexual assault. I had to look up the definition of sexual assault in order to determine if it indeed was sexual assault. That is how prevalent and accepted this kind of behavior between a male and a female is in this society. How prevalent and accepted it is in my family, community, and society. I have been socialized to accept someone pulling up my skirt, pulling down my top, grabbing my chest, grabbing my butt, pinching my butt, grabbing my vagina, pulling my hair (oh he just likes you sweetie), throwing things at me. Violent acts. Sexual assault.

Not just in the United States though…this link is an account of someone being groped, skirt hiked and more in the U.K.  Here in Australia.

All the stories are the same, entitled, predatory acts of violence towards women that HAVE NO CONSEQUENCES. 

This is a global problem.

My own 15 minutes of research brought up more stories of the same kind of sexual assault as mine, all of them being treated as nothing more than everyday normal occurrences.

Here is a woman’s account of a man lifting her Skirt on the New York subway while on an escalator. She reported it to the Metro Police, read it to see what happens. Nothing.

My sexual assault happened 18 yrs. ago. I have no legal recourse now. My brother is a Major in the United States Army. How many people do you think he has done this to in the last 18 yrs.? That is just one of the questions that I ask myself. I am also sickened that men who sexually assault women are in positions of “power” in this country. These positions hold titles that automatically associate the bearer with prestige, integrity and honor, to which none of these describe my brother or any perpetrator of sexual assault.

Trust me, if I had legal recourse I would be pursuing it. But I have other recourse. I will use my voice. My written and spoken words will validate and seek justice. We can all stop this kind of sexual assault by calling it what it is and never staying silent or treating it as normal. No matter when it happened, say it, write it, tell everyone. 

Celebrate the Earth Day!

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I have been creating a daily routine for my granddaughter who spends a great deal of time at my house. One of our routines is to name one thing we are grateful for each morning. The hardest part of this exercise is for her to understand what gratitude means. But I think she is getting the jist of it, just the other day while we were at the Oregon Zoo she told me that she was sooooo grateful for coming to the zoo.

I have found in my own gratitude practice that when I focus on gratitude then everything else shifts focus from the negative to the positive. Tis true!

And there are so many things to be grateful for; sunshine in April, flowering dogwoods, finches in my bird feeder, granddaughters, bluejays that peer at me, zoos, orangutans, avocados, waking up each morning, Mom love…

Today on this Earth Day, I am most grateful for an Earth that continues to support us, despite the use and abuse that we heap on Her. She still gushes forth in her majesty with unspeakable beauty and grace. The Earth is strong and resilient, timelessly cycling through season after season and in Her steadfastness I find comfort and solace, knowing that come what may, Spring comes after Winter and Fall will cool us down after Summer heats us up.

Happy and blessed Earth Day to Everyone! 

I Have News For You

Facebook and I have parted ways. This may turn out to be my life’s crowning achievement. One of the positive results of this: more posts on my blog.

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Photo by Charolette Stoehr

I HAVE NEWS FOR YOU

There are people who do not see a broken playground swing
as a symbol of ruined childhood

and there are people who don’t interpret the behavior
of a fly in a motel room as a mocking representation of their thought
process.

There are people who don’t walk past an empty swimming pool
and think about past pleasures unrecoverable

and then stand there blocking the sidewalk for other pedestrians.
I have read about a town somewhere in California where human beings

do not send their sinuous feeder roots
deep into the potting soil of others’ emotional lives

as if they were greedy six-year-olds
sucking the last half-inch of milkshake up through a noisy straw;

Do you see that creamy, lemon-yellow moon?
There are some people, unlike me and you,

who do not yearn after fame or love or quantities of money as
unattainable as that moon;
thus, they do not later
have to waste more time
defaming the object of their former ardor.

Or consequently run and crucify themselves
in some solitary midnight Starbucks Golgotha.

I have news for you—
there are people who get up in the morning and cross a room

and open a window to let the sweet breeze in
and let it touch them all over their faces and bodies.

by Tony Hoagland

Simple Salsa

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This is pic of nachos with the salsa added. I don’t have a pic yet of the salsa and hate when recipes add pics that are not of the actual recipe.

This was one of those…I ran out of salsa and what do I have to throw together kind of recipes. I combined all the ingredients and then left it sitting on the counter for a few minutes to let the flavors marinate. My son-who hates everything remotely healthy that I make-came in and was scooping it up with chips when I came back into the kitchen. He said it was the best salsa he ever tasted and that it tasted like the restaurant salsa.

1 can of Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes (used these )

1/2 medium onion, chopped

2 slices canned pineapple or any form

salt to taste

pinch red pepper flakes to taste

Blend onion and pineapple in food processor until fine. Combine it all together in a bowl. It has the consistency of chunky so if you want it more fluid then blend up some of the tomatoes as well. It does not keep long in refrigerator. Maybe 3-4 days.

Enjoy!

Best Burger Ever!

I have been a vegetarian for 32 years and a vegan off and on for 2 years. I have searched and searched for a decent alternative burger recipe to the processed frozen veggie burgers you can get in the market. I have tried sweet potato burgers, lentil burgers, black bean burgers, oatmeal burgers…I feel I have tried them all. Then I found this burger recipe from a lady that lives in Hawaii and it is the Best Burger Ever! I must give kudos where kudos are due…you can find her here .  I added in turmeric and ginger this batch. Remember to make it yours!

best-burgers-ever

Best Burgers Ever

1 small onion chopped

4 garlic cloves minced

1/2 red bell pepper diced

1 can or equivalent black beans drained

1 can or equivalent white beans drained

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp chili flakes or to taste

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup spelt flour or any flour you use

Preheat oven to 350. Heat a pan with some oil, cook onions for 5 mins, add garlic and red bell pepper, cook for another 3 mins. Remove from heat, add beans and spices, mix. Mash with potato masher, leaving some whole beans. Add flour and mix well. Form patties on parchment paper cooking sheet. Bake 40 minutes, flipping to other side at half way. Makes 6 patties.

Why I don’t say “I am proud of you.”

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I cringe when someone says, “I am proud of you”, to me or anyone else. I have had this reaction for years, not just recently. I hesitated saying it to my children while they were growing up. It just sounds so condescending to me. Like I am saying, I know better/do/think than you and am qualified to point out to you that you are on the right track. I looked up the meaning of the phrase and according to the mass online presence, it means that the person saying it has been through or knows what you have been through to accomplish what you have accomplished. This would involve a very personal relationship to have been developed between the person saying it and the receiver and a very long relationship. In my opinion, teachers, mentors and parents could be included without question. Why did I use it sparingly on my kids, if at all? Saying it made me feel oddly superior and while I know we are superior in many ways to our kids. This phrase made me feel like I was egotistically reminding them of my superiority, like a reminder of your place in the hierarchy of relationships, a putting you in your place with a smile on my face kind of exchange. It took the focus away from the celebrated victory and placed it on my feelings about it. It felt deceptive, a little bit cruel and not at all conveyed the message I wanted to tell them, which was:

You accomplished such a monumentally important thing and I hope you bask in the glow of this feeling as much as I am right along with you.

I seriously rejoice in my kids accomplishments and personally think they are the best human beings on the planet. I also have a decent amount of personal pride in my accomplishment of raising two amazing human beings. I say, “I am proud of you” in the mirror to myself everyday, because, well, I feel superior to myself and need the reminder of where I fit in the relationship hierarchy.

 

Dying Well

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Movies and mythic journeys always talk about “dying well”. When you think about dying well in this instance it usually involves something heroic or being remembered for an altruistic life. Extraordinary experiences of profound impact on others or the world in general are usually what get written down in books or played out on screens. Immortalized character traits that set the bar high for all of us left living to aspire to.

In the Mayan culture a human would  volunteer to be sacrificed to the God’s because it assured them a place in heaven. To be sacrificed was “dying well” to the Mayans. The human sacrifice was thrown into a cenote, a deep dark cave with an underground river and if the bound human sacrifice survived the 60 foot fall, after a period of time they were brought back up and asked what the God’s told them while in the cenote.

In my experience sitting with people that are dying, people die the way they lived. Those memorable heroic moments that happened maybe once and that everyone always associates with the person…yeah, that isn’t what the dying are sorting through in the end. The end brings what one spends the majority of their time and energy on. If it was being fearful, then it is fear gripping you in the end. If it was regret, then it is regret that wafts over you and spills out of your eyes and soul. Our one defining moment is death and it is at this time that our truest spirit is expressed. Not the many faces we live and use daily in life. Those are only needed by the living. Death being the equalizer that it is, brings us to ground zero where our base energy lies…that which fuels our thoughts, desires, needs, and propels us into action. It rarely is altruistic and even rarer is heroic, at least not in historical or Hollywood terms. It is instead that day in and day out, moment to moment, small hum of energy that is not noticed by anyone but you most of the time. That lingering tug at your consciousness as you are falling asleep at night..there, that is what surfaces in the end, like it has been waiting and trying to get you to acknowledge it for a long, long time.

It makes you think about the way you live now. At this moment. If you spew anger and hatred towards your family, if you judge people, if you are jealous or resentful, if you love and respect others, show compassion, are generous… whatever you spend the most time and energy on is what will be staring back at you from the mirror placed before you in the end. And that mirror comes to us all.

And of course no one knows what happens after death, what if we continue on in some other existence based on these very characteristics that we lived in this life? What if this life is step one and our actions in it determines step two? Would you change the way you live your life now to “die well”?

Water

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I had to sneak in this beautiful water image of a ceynote in Cozumel that my son and I will be swimming in come September, when we take our vacation!

Water is super important and we all know it. We are told to drink it from the time we are old enough to understand the word, “water”.  My kids would tell me their head hurt and the first thing I asked is if they had drank any water today. I called them water headaches. We bathe in it, cook food in it and it is the most amazing natural wonder in our world. Life giving and life altering, we literally die without it.

Do you know what is in your water?

Start your research at the county water service site for your county and there should be a link to a water dedicated website. You have to do some sleuthing to find the information on water quality. I don’t know why but it is not usually clearly labeled, “Click here for your water quality” and it should be. Everyone should read about their water quality. Spend the time to research and find the information. You are looking for the Water Quality Index Summary Report. Find the closest location to your residence that has your water information and take a gander. You can find out where your water source is located, what they add to it to make it safe to use, whether they add chlorine or chloramine, and if they add fluoride. We just moved to a different county and while writing this, I took a look at our new water report, it isn’t good. In fact under the heading “Condition” it says “Poor”. But my current water treatment does not add fluoride to the water supply and they add 1/3 the amount of chlorine that my previous residence area did. I ended up finding this report by Googling “chlorine in >>>>” insert your water district. I could not find this information on the water district site but then all the information I needed popped up on one handy report called the Drinking Water Quality Report.

Chlorine is necessary and good for disinfecting water BUT it is bad for us in the quantities that are added to our water. Just begin researching chlorine and effects and you will see what I am talking about. For me, it was asthma attacks after showers from breathing the chlorinated steam, acne, rashes, hair loss, dry skin, headaches, irritability and an immune system that was overloaded from trying to fight off mass quantities of toxic level chlorine in my system. I bought a shower filter that filtered chlorine, a water pitcher with a chlorine filter and vitamin c tabs for the bath. Britta filters do not filter out chlorine and most shower filters do not as well. You have to read closely and find the ones that do. I use Zero water pitcher for drinking water. There is some initial cost but the results are worth it. My hair stopped falling out, my skin cleared up, my asthma is under control, and bye bye dry skin.

Fluoride is another additive but is not added by every water district. Thankfully I moved from an area that adds it to one that does not. Fluoride  in the excessive amounts that they add to drinking water is too much and causes headaches, stiffness and pain in joints, teeth damage and skeletal damage. Fluoride is a result of strip mining and was introduced to being a water additive as a solution to disposal of excessive quantities of fluoride. NOT because we needed additional fluoride as it was marketed. Unfortunately I have not found any filters for fluoride as it is a difficult process to filter adequately.

Fluoride in water

I see cleaning up my water as the base of my decision to start choosing healthy ways of living. It seems fitting as water is the basis of everything and so I began at the bottom with the most basic need we have and began working up from there.