Spirit Lifters: Day 75 of being “grounded” 5/20/2020

OK, it’s really getting long now…so it’s time to seriously shift our perspectives and consider instituting new, healthy daily habits into our “new normal” lives. Along with taking care of ourselves physically, we simply must attend to those other parts that are being insidiously drained, even damaged during this pandemic.

Here’s one of my regular self-care habits, a potential, inspirational resource, as well as a couple of new musical treats.

This is an excerpt from the newsletter of one of my favorite people, Karen Drucker. She is a talented musician, comedienne and public speaker.

Almost anything will work again if you unplug it for
awhile…including you.
Anne Lamott
You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.
Joseph Goldstein
This is precisely the time when artist go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.
 Toni Morrison
I have to admit I have gone through every emotion during this last month of shelter in place: thrilled to be home; deeper connection with my hubby; anxiety about gigs cancelling and how to pay bills; feeling like I need alone time; happy to not have to fly followed almost immediately by wondering if I will ever be on a plane going to a gig again! Back and forth – happy, panic, bliss, fear. Lather, rinse, repeat!
The most positive thing for me, though, during this time has been connecting back to doing music. My friend, Alan Cohen, has a great expression: “Make the main thing be the main thing!”  I realize that with all the gigs and traveling and hyper-busy-ness, I let the joy of creating music get pushed to the back burner. It seemed to me I just didn’t have the time. What has become clear to me as I analyze what really lights me up is how writing and performing healing music helps my soul. When I get emails from people telling me that a certain chant helped them get through cancer treatments, or how singing along with me during this challenging time we are in is easing their anxiety – these messages validate what the main thing is for me – creating music. Right now, what feels like a suspension in time also feels sacred to me to be able to have the space to write and record again.
The greatest gift along this healing path that I have received was delivered this month – a beautiful 64-page booklet produced by Unity Churches featuring my “Heart of Healing” songs. It includes essays written by various writers and Unity ministers, with affirmations around each of the themes that the songs convey. This is a free booklet available to anyone. Even though this project was started last year it seems so perfect for what we are all going through right now. For information on how to receive your booklet contact: The Heart of Healing
So like the quote above from Toni Morrison, I am committed to do my part in helping us all heal by writing songs that, hopefully, will uplift, heal, and connect us as we all get through this challenging time together. I wish you peace during this time and hope that we will meet in person soon!

 

Here is Karen’s calendar (lots of virtual options) and a way to hear her music and to get her newsletter.

Calendar

Or her main website;

https://www.karendrucker.com/

If Karen isn’t your cup of tea, find a person or organization who speaks your language, fires up your brain, and touches your heart.

And really important, keep access to it easy, handy for those days when you need something to balance out the bad news we are be inundated with daily! (I read the Greater Good Science Center articles.)

When all else fails, music can make us think differently, feel deeply, or just smile!!

 

And this really fun one that was around even before this Virus took over our lives!

 

Look up more songs by  Playing for Change ! I bet you’ll find something you like.

That’s it for now. As always, I love comments, any kind, and I’m not getting many, so if you “like” this post, take a minute to write me something, just a sentence will do!!

Thanks so much.

Chosen Perspectives

Spirit Lifters; Day 72 of being “grounded” 5/16/2020

I’ve been kinda distracted by life lately…nothing catastrophic or even Virus related, just regular life. Granted, it has been New Normal life stuff but it was a nice break from thinking about the reality that I have only left my home twice since March 6th, and both of those times were hit and run medical trips…once for the parking lot, giant-cutip-up-the-nose, Covid 19 test on March 26th (false alarm..cleaning products overdose) and once last week for a quick blood test.

I haven’t been as focused on finding Spirit Lifters like before. Time to get back to that

One of my favorites is still Some Good News from John Krasinski, and episode 5 is no exception. I LOVED this one and sent it out to all my “Foodie” friends.

 

 

Then I went to another favorite place.

This weekly magazine was a wonderful resource anyway and they have really been great during the pandemic. This week’s articles are so supportive and helpful, especially the one on finding purpose and connection during this time. A great, inspiring read!

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_im_finding_purpose_and_connection_in_a_pandemic?utm_source=Greater+Good+Science+Center&utm_campaign=852a0c2414-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_GG_Newsletter_May_14_2020&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5ae73e326e-852a0c2414-74625275

There are still so many local stories happening that are inspirational, like this one.

https://www.newsbreak.com/washington/seattle/lifestyle/0OzedBAG/air-force-to-perform-flyover-in-seattle-area-to-thank-healthcare-workers

I was reminded of it while sitting outside yesterday, enjoying the sun, and these flew right over me, amazingly low in the sky!!

 

 

And personally, I have so many things to be grateful for in my life every day…no, not the whole “daily gratitude can change your life..blah, blah, blah…” But seriously wonderful things that I take for granted...until I remember not to.

I am so blessed to be able to get out and walk in Nature (granted, suburban Nature). I see miracles every single day!

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The old rhododendron in my front yard has never been more beautiful!

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And see the red ones on the left above? One of them is growing right out of what’s left of an old Madrona!

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When I leave my own, rustic, and mostly unattended to yard to walk up my street, I find treasures all along the way.

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Can’t wait to see this guy blossom!!!

I feel so badly that my best friends (both athletes), who live in an apartment in Madrid, are unable to get out and go these days. They were just telling us yesterday, all their daily routines are completely stalled…no outdoor exercise allowed, so they run up and down the stairs in their old apartment building. None of the places they sit and write every day (Cafe’s, restaurants, the Plaza) are open and the cops come and send them home if they are caught outside without a very specific purpose. Oh, and the worst for them, they can’t walk together, even to the little market for food…no hand holding, nothing.

 

Apparently, I am more easily entertained than most. It is a highlight for me to walk out my door to see what profound or coded or artistic message the local slug population has left me each day.

(Maybe you’d have to live in the Seattle area to understand this one…🤣)

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And I know how absolutely lucky I am to have a Master Gardener living basically right in my back yard. The Rhubarb is already huge so I knew Mimi would start creating in the kitchen!

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I was a lucky recipient!!!

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Mimi’s Rhubarb jam and cream cheese on a toasted gluten free bagel!!! YUM!!!

 

And if that’s not enough to lift my spirits, there is always one or two of the reliable, dependable furry family members!

 

Let me know how your spirits are in the Comment Section!!

Day 47 of being “Grounded”- 4/21/2020 Lessons Solidified Part One-Scarcity

This post is a departure from my recent attempts to be uplifting and entertaining. A month and a half into being sequestered, there are still sweet stories to be found everywhere, but we are learning hard lessons too.

At least, I am. Some lessons are mind-blowing, and some are embarrassingly simple!

I have been semi-retired since last summer, so I was already reviewing my life’s work before the virus hit, trapping me in this endless solitude. But being faced with mortality daily, in such an urgent and graphic way, I find myself in hyper-drive examining my 40-plus years of professional life.

I started my practice as a Psychotherapist through both a very direct and also an unusual route! Direct because I was “called” to do this work at Church Camp in the 4th grade and have never once veered off that course.

But things also evolved in a round-a-bout way, starting my practice in the back of my Conversion Van, in the parking lot of where I was still waitressing, while finishing school. (A long, fun story for another day…)

During these last 45 days of isolation, quarantine, sheltering at home, etc., I have had many hours to contemplate the most important learnings of my life so far.

Here is what has risen to the top of an endless list.

I have four concepts, tenets, or theories that are the core of my therapeutic and life philosophies. I try, by the way, to have those be the same thing…practicing what I preach, etc. I know where some of these originated, but they have been with me so long now, I have no idea how much I have changed them in the process of making them my own.

And some I thought up by myself…

It seems like a perfect time to write about (and share) these four models. I really want folks to read these, and comment, so I am putting them in four separate posts.

I do hope you will indulge me in this summary of my life’s work. And as always, I would love your comments and/or questions.

In this first post, I want to address the concept most obvious to me during these Covid 19 days….Scarcity.

I had a wonderful Teacher/Mentor/Adopted Mom for 30 plus years. Elaine Childs Gowell was an amazing woman, way ahead of her time. An ARNP, and public health nurse, with a PhD in Anthropology. She grew up travelling with her family on various religious missions in Africa. She lived in New Orleans, practicing as a Public Health nurse, and working for Civil Rights. Then she moved to Seattle where she became a well-loved professor in the Nursing School at the University of Washington, while she started a private practice in Psychotherapy. She also studied Shamanism all over the world, and eventually became one herself…a very loudly outspoken spiritual leader respected by thousands.

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Her most steadfast belief was that absolutely every issue, personally and globally, was caused by Scarcity…. literal or imagined.

Nothing, not one thing, can bring up people’s emotions and unfinished personal-growth issues faster than the belief that there is not enough of something!

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Elaine moved on to her longed for “light” almost 13 years ago now, but she may as well be alive because I can hear her unapologetic proclamations daily, and loudly, during this pandemic. Pointing out to all the blatant proof that her theory was correct.

When all the factories and businesses shut down and those skies started clearing over Wuhan, I could just hear Elaine’s irreverent “Duh”.

She could tell you in a minute, what your personal/psychological scarcity issues were-whether perceived or literal…not enough time, not enough structure, or stimulation, or recognition or love!

At one point, back in the 1990’s, we even created an amazing 5-day therapeutic retreat called Experiencing Enough. It was designed to provide, for all who participated, the experiential, literal and symbolic healing effect of truly having enough. Plenty of time and attention and food and staff (and support for the staff) and sleep and fresh air and exercise and above all, love!! It went on twice a year for a long time. So healing for so many.

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And Elaine could trace every single world problem back to a belief, imagined or true, about something of which there was not enough. Power, money, and natural resources all at the top of the list. (There are certainly some world leaders that could have benefited from attending Experiencing Enough!!)

 

Long before Oprah started talking about our life’s repeated lessons, Elaine was preaching about how our scarcity issues were going to bring us down as a species if we didn’t learn the lessons…and fast….lessons that first tapped us on the shoulder, and eventually smacking us upside the head with a two by four.

At the beginning of this pandemic, I decided I needed to have a “talk” with her.

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She was pissed! After she got finished with her “I told you so” tirade, she quietly said, “I guess we’re finding out what comes after that two by four upside the head…”

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Look how many results!!!

Elaine was a Master of the Big Picture. She could see it all, the whole layout of the universe. And she knew there was enough…of everything…and for everyone! Even in her passing (she had a stroke), she hung around in her coma for way longer than her Doctors predicted possible, even “surfacing” repeatedly to connect with the current visitor to her home bedside….but the rest of us were not at all surprised. We knew why.

She was making sure all the people, who were coming from all over to pay their respects, to say their good-byes, had more than enough time….

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I think my specialty is the Little Pieces, I can see minute details others miss, so I have always chosen to focus my energy, for myself and for those I work for, on the small blessings, the individual stories, and the next steps to be taken each and every day.

My goal? To learn, and live, and to show that Elaine was right. It’s always about Scarcity.

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Gloves and a home made mask from a neighbor so I can grocery shop…

There may not be enough toilet paper or gloves or masks, but there is certainly enough beauty!!!

 

Thank you for reading…..and forgive me for not knowing how to do a “screen shot”.   😊

 

 

Spirit Lifters-Day 46 of being “grounded” 4/20/20

Impossible to be down today…

Meet our newest family member…long awaited (a couple of years)!

Puppy-Luca
two weeks ago!

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This puppy is very special, bred by Crooked Rooster Farms in Snohomish, WA. He is a Border Collie/Golden Retriever blend, bred for the Collie’s intelligence as well as the temperament of the Retriever. He is already exhibiting both those qualities.

And we think he will probably grow to be more Retriever size (he’s a little CHUNK!) than the Border Collie.

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after first bath! a giant fluff ball!

We are all so in love!!!!

Even Loki, the Maine Coon kitten, who has had the run of the upstairs house…until now. He can’t wait to be done with his silly cone so he can romp with the puppy!

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Spirit Lifters–Day 40 of being “grounded”

It may be difficult these days to think about being creative, but I’m telling you right now, it is absolutely your best defense against the situational depression that is starting to creep in for many, many lonely people, stuck at home.

My dear friend Brenda has been making these amazing pendants lately…before the Virus arrived. I had given her a bunch of broken bits and pieces of old jewelry to use in her pendants and she surprised me by making me this one. She hadn’t known that the tiny blue and silver dangle she used on mine had actually came from a necklace my Dad bought me on a trip to Mexico when I was about 9 years old. I LOVED that necklace from my Daddy. I wore it well into adulthood.

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When the Virus hit, Brenda got inspired and made this beauty!

Brenda's Covid 19 Heart

It’s big enough to fill both hands!!! I

t’s gorgeous, and one has to look again and again to see all it’s beautiful messages

Here’s what she wrote:

This is my latest creation. I’m calling it; Corona Heart 2020

During this very challenging time, I’ve had some really hard days, and some easier ones. There’s been fear, anxiety, shock, sadness and death, but there has also been compassion and caring for one another in new ways, people reaching out and helping, singing, healing, joy and even beauty. It’s such a mixture during this potent time. I wanted to create a piece that reflected all of that.
 
Heart – I chose the heart to represent love, kindness and compassion. The heart is inclusive, caring, understanding, forgiving, strong and knowing. It can hold great pain and great love.

Yin/Yang – I’ve always loved the yin/yang symbol – a symbol of wholeness. Reminding us that life includes it all – light and dark, life and death, joy and pain. The circle is divided into black and white, but not straight down the middle. They are nestled together, holding one another; with a point of light in the dark, and a point of dark within the light – integrated and whole. Life!

Pink – The color pink represents compassion and caring, and during this incredibly difficult time, it’s come to honor the health care works and first responders and all the people who are risking their lives so that the world can still function.
 
We’re all in this together, and love is what heals. Let your heart shine!\

So your job now is to lift your own spirits and go create something!

Then share it with the rest of us.

In Honor of……..

Bill Withers, what a loss…

 

And on today, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gone from the planet for so long, but never from our hearts.

 

 

 

I’m going to go deep inside myself to see if I can find what they might say about our current predicament….

I invite you to also.

Please share what you find in “comments” if you wish.

Mlk quote

Love to us all.