Friday, May 22, 2015

Such a pretty, if frustrating, flight. #nature #nofilter
Photo from my flight last month.

“There is nothing more beautiful than a warrior woman standing in her power, courage, and confidence. From this place of strength, she is capable of loving the world in a way that transforms pain into promise…and hell into heaven.” ~ Debbie Ford

I'm more or less through the woods of postpartum depression, so my therapist and I have moved on to tackling deeper, darker things. I cried for the first time in a session. The work I'm doing on my own is hard; excavating old memories and unlocking old hurts and anger. It's easy to let the ugly of the past take the wheel, to make me a cranky mess.

But I'm fighting it. I'm pushing through, owning my anger, my hurt and I'm pushing forward in to forgiveness. For the first time, I'm learning to forgive and heal old soul wounds. For the first time, I'm speaking to myself a little more positively, realizing that I AM worthy. For the first time, I feel a little confident, powerful and free.

Even as the darkness swirls around the messy room that is the mind I'm working so hard to heal and transform, I'm standing in my strength, in a place of love.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Healing and Stealing Minutes

Towards the end of February, I scheduled a yearly wellness visit with my doctor. Before my visit I made a list of all of the things that were concerning me so that when I was there I wouldn't forget to mention any of them.

And for the first time ever, a doctor took every single one of my points seriously. He asked me questions about them, did his due diligence in checking each thing out, took a boatload of my blood and referred me out to a hand full of specialists for the things he felt others would better be able to help me with. We even talked about my visits with the therapist, who it turns out he knows and refers all of his female patients to (because she specializes in women's issues) and he checked my thyroid levels just to be sure there was no underlying physical cause to my issues; aside from being tired, of course. ;)

Needless to say since that visit, I've been very busy visiting a bunch of doctor's offices. It hasn't necessarily been fun, and I've still got about a dozen or so more appointments to go, but I've been getting answers and help and am finally starting to feel better. Just having someone take me seriously when I complained about arthritis pain, as opposed to brushing me off as "too young", would have had me feeling better.

Between physical therapy, the GI doctor, a scope and a procedure to fix my esophagus, the eye doctor (because you know that flared up again!), the ear doctor, the rhuematologist, the therapist, sleeping, eating, cleaning, animal caring, wifing and mothering (especially soothing a child growing 6 teeth at once) there really hasn't been much time left over for things that involve a lot of time or ritual. Even my Beltane was celebrated by speaking thanks to the Universe while I was driving home from an appointment with the windows down and the warm breeze making a million and one knots in my hair.

We do what we can, right?

In the midst of all of this, I quit social media. So if you've been following me elsewhere and noticed I've gone missing, sorry! I'd been mulling it over for a bit and this felt like the time to do it. In the 2 weeks I've been offline, I've noticed a drastic improvement in my moods and I've gotten a lot more little things started or finished. My free time has been spent napping, meditating, reading or working in what I'm calling my stolen minutes art journal.

I met some friends for coffee this past Sunday and one of them had her art journals with her. And they were beautiful and filled with so much energy and devotion. Thumbing through them made me miss my own practice terribly, but I found myself lamenting how long it took me to put together the pages in my book. SO LONG. SO elaborate. I don't have time for that!

Oh, but I wanted the time for it. And so, I'm changing up my practice, tossing the "rules" aside and fitting it in when I have a few minutes. It doesn't need to be elaborate (unless I want it to be), I can jump around from page to page willy nilly. It doesn't have to be deep or beautiful, it simply needs to be a soft place for thoughts, paper, paint and glue to land and be a rock for my need to make things to cling to. And if ah ha moments, beautiful art or secret messages appear there, so be it.

P.S. I'm feeling disconnected and dissatisfied with the name and feel of my beloved space here. It's one of the myriad of reasons I haven't been blogging, because I feel like what I want to write about won't "fit". So I'm pondering a new name, one that better encompasses all that I am, since this is, in fact, a personal blog.

So after a solid 6 years, soon The Whimsical Cottage will be renovated.

Friday, March 6, 2015

First Snow

These photos are from our "big winter storm" here a few weeks ago. I used quote because it was all melted by the following afternoon - sorry, Northern friends. I really enjoyed our Winter's last hurrah and, unlike most of the folks I know down here, really enjoy when we get snow. There's something so peaceful in the silence that show brings to everything; standing outside with the only sound being the soft pattering of snow hitting more snow. Wonderful. It sleeted as well, so when we awoke, everything was covered in a gorgeous sheen, all the greenery encased in glass.

To make it even more special, it was Orion's first Wintry experience! So, you know I took a bunch of pictures. Enjoy!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Lessons in Paint

The other day, I woke up realizing something inside has changed. A shifting had occurred, slowly, nearly imperceptibly. I would have missed it entirely if it hadn't been for my purposeful invitation of presence and mindfulness in to my life.

I feel better.

Out of the woods may not be accurate yet, but seeing the light at the forest edges definitely is.

And as I'm beginning to come out of the heavy, dark fog, my Muse has been beckoning gently. I set out on my birthday earlier in the month to purchase a fresh giant canvas from the art store, but instead returned home with a new art journal.

Working in it has pushed me further than these small periods of painting usually do. I've been frustrated, ready to unleash Hell upon the unfinished page with black paint or use the magical delete medium that is Gesso. But instead, when I hit that wall, that place of being pissed off, frustrated and lost, I put it aside for the night. I give myself a time out, space to breath, and permission NOT to finish my daily pages in one day.

And as I apply this approach, these lessons in patience, grace, and space to my art practice, so to do I apply it to other aspects of my life.

Take time out. Let go and let things happen. Breathe. Repeat.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Time, Changes and Keeping On

This whole time things moves strangely for me these days, both ludicrously fast and ever so slowly. I'm not entirely sure if this is from having a young child or because I'm learning to be more present and have all but unplugged from technology (who has time for that stuff with a 6 month old?), but it's fucking weird. :)

There's been an entire month since the last time I sat down and wrote, but it feels like I wrote last week. It's been 6.5 months since I first met my son, but I feel like I've known him a whole lot longer than that. And also, like I held him for the very first time, when he was 13 lbs lighter than he is now. Time, you're a tricky wench.

Orion at 1 week old helping Joe brew beer (top) and at 6 months (bottom)

Moons wax and grow to swollen, then wane and go dark and I've not done a stellar job of observing them for a while. I haven't seen a full moon since the super moon on the weekend I went in to labor, not because I haven't gone outside (I get super antsy around full moon, so can't really miss her) but because there have been clouds every single time. Last night I went out, but again, clouds. It's the strangest thing and maddening in a way, but like so many things lately, I just have to let go and let things do what they will.

Even if that's incredibly hard sometimes.

My practices have softened and shifted, I take a few moments each day at the altar, to pull a card, to look deeply in to the depths of a black cup of tea, to throw my eyes skyward and watch the family of crows that moved in wheel over head. I notice more, even as I practice and do the Work, less. Vulture stood tall on a pole, spreading his mighty wings today just as I went by. A few weeks back, a huge red shouldered hawk swooped from the tree in my front yard, flapped his wings twice in the few foot distance between myself and my front door before flying over my neighbors roof and away. The small birds of Winter scratch in the hedge outside of my bedroom window, chattering to each other while I lay with Orion while he naps.

It's always birds with me.

Soon the altar will need to be put up or moved, out of reach of little hands that will be grasping and pulling up before I even realize it. And I will observe my spirituality in other ways, in smaller altars and magic spaces tucked around the house or find it in the simplicity of my breath, as I use it to come back fully in to my body and out of my mind; if only for a few seconds. There's magic in the medicine bag between my breasts, in the stones friends I tuck in to pockets or turn in to jewelry, in the curvature and stretch of the body I've so rarely appreciated as it flows through a yoga class. And one day, the altar will be put back out, when little fingers know not to eat mom's stone helpers or man handle the bones which she keeps.

This past month has been one of growing and healing, of triumphantly going out on a limb and feeling like flying, and it's also been one of falling back to Earth on molten wings, of skinned knees and feelings of failure, shame and old hurts. But I dust myself off and keep going, because gods dammit, I am worth it and I deserve it. This month will be better, and next month better still.

Onwards and upwards, right? :)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015

2014 was an incredible year for me. Without a doubt, the biggest one of my life. There were some that came close, but bringing a piece of my heart in to existence as another human being tops them by far.

My one little word was "Brave" and I feel like I very much embodied it.

Not only did I give birth to my son the way I wanted to, I did so without fear or worry. Even when it would creep up, I was able to bat it away without terribly too much trouble. Something I'm not usually very good at, being a born worrier.

The aforementioned Fear and the easier thing to do were put on a shelf and I said "yes" to meeting new people and doing new things outside of my comfort zone. Again, something that I'm not typically very good at doing - I found myself fighting the urge to cancel at the last minute and turn around and go home even as I was walking up to the cafe door. I'm incredibly grateful that I didn't, because it led to finding the beginnings of a local spiritual tribe and new friends - things I've been longing for for a few years.

I bravely took a raw, unbiased look at myself, owned my mental health issues and decided to take the steps necessary to heal by seeking counseling. A very very big step for me as I don't easily open up to or trust people, especially with deep dark things. For the first time in a very long time, I feel hopeful that I will overcome my emotional difficulties, pick up the wreckage, learn to be positive and give my poor self a break from my own mental bullying. I'm well beyond being my own worst critic and for a few shining moments this year I didn't feel like that. I felt powerful, beautiful, intuitive and most importantly, worthy. Just as I am. And I want to feel that way regularly - fuck this self loathing, low self esteem, negativity business.

The status quo is currently being evicted, I'm kicking out my own ideals of myself that no longer serve me, letting go of labels, admitting what I want and am finally willing to change and work and burn things to the ground to get there.

It's been hard as fuck and equally incredible.

Here's a wrap up video I made to farewell the year rather than posting 60+ photos. I had a hard time picking just a few shining moments - there were so very many! If for soem reason the video doesn't load, you can view it by clicking this link:

My one little word for 2015 is Peace. Within and without.

This wasn't my intended word for the year. I had tossed around "trust", "happiness" and decided upon "simplify" but it didn't feel entirely right -I was still mulling other words over in my head. Peace tip toed in to my head while I lay curled up beside Orion, in the mystic place between waking and sleep. In a not so peaceful manner, I jumped out of bed and wrote it in my journal.

noun: peace; noun: the peace
  1. 1.
    freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.

  2. 2freedom from or the cessation of war or violence.
  3. 3. inner contentment, serenity.

Peace. Because, after the fire comes the cooling rain, and from the ashes rises the Phoenix with song and new life. I plan to learn, laugh, love and live fearlessly, be more present and put the damn phone down.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


I'm joining Taryn at Wooly Moss Roots and several other lovely bloggers in honoring the things for which we've been grateful for throughout the week. A quiet, weekly practice of appreciation and positivity. A time to breath and reflect. A small step towards a more simplistic and appreciative outlook.

If you would like to join us, just click the image in my sidebar.

This Week I am Grateful For:

* For a Yule celebration split between friends and home. I didn't do what I normally do, which was good because I didn't have the energy for a big cooking session or staying up in to the wee hours. It was exactly what I needed.
* A kind, considerate and supportive husband who doesn't take it to heart or personally when his extreme introvert wife gets overwhelmed by her house being full of his (extremely talkative) family for 10 days. Who nudges me off to the bedroom or my studio to take a bath, read or just hide out and let the buzzing of my overwhelmed brain quiet back down before it all becomes far too much for me to handle.
* Getting my studio put back together a bit more. It's been in chaos and disarray since Chico passed away in early November. He destroyed the carpet in there due to organ failure and we had to take everything out, tear up the floors and start over and between sadness, holiday madness, depression and a young infant it kept getting shoved to the bottom of the to-do list. I spent 3 hours in there after Orion went to sleep the other night to be alone and made some great progress. It's starting to feel better in there again, which is making my Muse peek her nose out from under her blankets in interest.

* Incredibly thoughtful gifts under the Yulemas tree.
* Laughter. I don't recall what we were talking about or what happened now, but earlier this week something happened to Joe, he said something sarcastic about it and I laughed so hard and so long I was crying. I can't remember the last time I laughed until my sides hurt.

* New crystal acquisitions! I picked up a few tumbled stones to wrap and a raw flourite and amethyst for my altar and the girl at the gem store gifted me with 5 amethyst points just because! She had no idea that amethyst is my favorite stone or how badly I need it's energy. I love those magical moments! While I was sorting the tumbled stones, one of them was giving off such high vibrations the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end - a highly holographic bloodstone. It refused to be put away, zinging me if I tried to do so, and so it joined the others on my altar.
* Orion woke up a little after I had put him to bed the other night and Joe went in to soothe him. When I went in a few minutes later to check on them Orion reached out for me and Joe told me he'd been babbling "momomomomomomom" while he was fussing. He stopped as soon as I walked in. *heart, melted*