In 2008, I set my intentions to see the face of my fears. The time was ripe. And the universe presented the fruits of my labors.
In late August, I got an urgent call. My mother-in-law was being taken by ambulance from Santa Maria to Santa Barbara. And she wanted me. Before she allowed the doctors to do anything, she wanted me there. I am her medical agent, the one responsible for following her end of life wishes, yet she was fully cognizant, just scared.
So I drove the 45 miles to the hospital knowing this was it. I would be facing one of my fears. As a nurse practitioner, I had been called upon by the family many times over the years for medical advice. It was assumed by my elders that I would be the one to take care of them. And frankly, after decades of providing care for others I did not want to end my life as a caretaker. Plus being a caretaker is hard physically, mentally and emotionally. I have counseled many suffering from depression, insomnia, anxiety, and utter exhaustion from long spans of care-taking.
I knew that it was time to take in Steve’s grandmother while his mother recuperated. And then we would take her. And I knew my husband would agree to whatever I decided and would do everything he could to help. And I also knew it would be me doing all the work.
So I stepped into the ER and stepped into my fear. The family gratefully released all to me. My mother-in-law only signed the emergency surgery release after I counseled with her. It was clear that Steve’s grandmother was not happy being handed over to his aunt and uncle. So once his mother was taken to the operating room, we offered to take Gran. There was little resistance.
Gran came home with us. She was delight, but not safe with her rickety cane on our hard wood floors. So we got her a four wheel drive walker and at 89 years old Gran became mobile again. My mother-in-law had been living with her for the past six years and slowly Gran lost her ability to be productive…or so we thought. To me she was more than willing, so I put her to work. Gran was delighted to help and we found her much more capable than her daughters had reported.
She helped fold clothes while watching Ellen every afternoon and in the evening helped me with dinner. When Steve finally brought his mother home from the hospital, she was surprised to see Gran cutting veggies. “She can’t use a knife! She’s on Coumadin!”
I smiled. “She’s been very careful and if she cuts herself, luckily I can stitch her up.”
Shortly after she arrived, Gran said, “Since my stroke, I can’t smell very well. So you’ll have to tell me if I need a bath.” A day or two later, I sniffed her and announced it was time. She balked a bit nervous to have me help her in and out of the bath. But I had the perfect set up. Our guest bath had a tiny soaking tub with a seat inside an enclosed shower. So I warmed up the bath, and helped her in. Then she sat down, “Uh, oh!”
“You aren’t going to be able to get me up.” The seat was too low and her arthritic knees were higher than her hips.
“It’s ok, Gran. I’m a nurse. I know how to lift you.”
She shook her head, “You’re too little.”
“I’m strong, Gran, and Steve’s here if we need help…”
“Oh, no. I don’t want Stevie to help.” Great!
Ten minutes later, all parts of Gran were sparkling clean and I was soaked. After a failed attempt to lift her from the edge of the tub. I stripped off my sodden nightgown and climbed in with her. She laughed telling me that’s how her other daughter did it. I placed one knee between hers, squatted down, “one, two, three” and lifted Gran to her feet. She held me tight as I helped her over the edge of the tub and she didn’t let me go.
“It’s so nice to hold you like this,” she whispered. It was nice. “But there’s only three breasts between us!” She had had a mastectomy thirteen years before. I almost dropped her laughing!
That was Gran always finding delight in everything. I know it’s not easy accepting help especially if your role in life is to be of service. I hope I am a gracious patient and not a burden on my loved ones. But the stress of illness and the demeaning role of incapacitation can make the best of us turn sour. Yet Gran was a delight.
My mother-in-law was another story. I have yet to meet a medical professional who is a good let alone gracious patient and my mother-in-law is a retired nurse. She also had become one of those resentful caretakers that I didn’t want to emulate. So although my care-taking load more than doubled when Steve brought her home from the hospital, I was determined not to lose myself and took time every day for me.
Shortly after they arrived I got a call from Steve’s cousin. She had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. When it rains it does pour. So I spent time counseling her, helping her to see the spiritual message of the dis-ease. I find that breast cancer patients are very good at taking care of others, but quite poor at self-care. Their body speaks to them through the dis-ease. “Time to nurse me please.” I think she got it. And so did I.
I was so busy during this time, that I did not record it. There is nearly a month missing in my journals yet it is burnt into my memory. And it happened again the very next year. And the second time, I took care of them both for months instead of weeks. Yet in spite of the incredible stress, I am left with such pleasant memories.
Every afternoon, after Ellen, Gran asked if I was free to have coffee with her. I was still seeing patients three days a week in my office which is on our property. My mother ran my practice and was in charge of keeping an eye on Gran while I was in with a patient. Gran would push her walker out onto the patio overlooking the herb garden and chat with the patients as they admired the flowers. And when the last one left, I would sit and have a cup of coffee with her.
And I learned how to sit and enjoy being. Gran loved the garden, the flowers, the hummingbirds that would visit us, the butterflies, even the jays that shooed the songbirds from the feeders and especially the antics of the squirrels as they scolded the cat and the crows. Gran took delight in being alive. And I took delight in being with her.
My fear of care-taking transformed into joyous service. I had written about joyous service in LoveDance® but for the first time, I got to experience it. The family thought I was a saint. My husband cannot thank me enough. Yet it was I who am ever grateful for the opportunity to serve in love and joy.
Excerpt from My LoveDance
Have you ever smelled cookies baking and are transported back to grandma’s house? Our sense of smell is key to our memories. In the ancient centers of our brain, our lives are encoded by odors.
Our sense of smell, more so than any other sense, is linked to the part of the brain that processes emotion and associative learning. The olfactory bulb which sorts sensation into perception is part of the limbic system—a system that includes the amygdala and the hippocampus—parts of our brain that are vital to behavior, mood and memory. Read the rest of this entry »
By 2012 I had made a drastic change. I was about to embark on a new professional venture and began to have trouble breathing. Here’s my journal entry from then and how I experienced my body symbolizing soul lessons:
Thinking a lot about why my business has whittled down since moving it home. I have envisioned for years this decline to correspond with Steve’s coming retirement. Yet it is taking a toll on my ego.
Had a thought while walking Charlie in our favorite meadow; Steve and I had been texting about me waking up in the middle of the night worrying about my choices. In relinquishing the party line both conventional and alternative that creates dependency, and giving my patients what they need (not necessarily what they want–like high dose BHRT), have I cut off my nose to spite my face? Read the rest of this entry »
We present this excerpt from “My Lovedance”because we believe the methods used to calm a situation down are vital for the now, and we don’t want to wait till Christmas.
Learning to be my truth within my family of origin has taken a very long time. It is our soul work to witness our lessons in the mirror of those we love. And families are magnifying lenses…
Dec 23rd, 2003
Off to Utah for the family holidays. Anxious premonitions of my beloved Santa cup breaking. After 20 years of keeping them safe for my sisters, I tried to pack them carefully, but one tumbled out of the car, so I traded my unscathed cup for the fractured one. This trip is about breaking attachments, perhaps to things, but yet deeper, to what I believed my sisters to be. As I am coming to know myself as joyous passion I shall recognize who they are as love. So many sister dreams lately. Since childhood, I have flown in my dreams stringing them along like Peter Pan, barely able to get them off the ground. Lately in my dreams, I do not hold their hands, but try to teach them to fly on their own, but they resist. I feel tired, saddened. Will my sisters throw me out like Yeshua was thrown out of Nazareth? Strangers can be more accepting than those closest when you change too rapidly. Read the rest of this entry »
From Living Fast and Dying Young, to Living Slow and Dying Old
Will our grandchildren be an entirely different type of human being? Evolutionary anthropologist Cadell Last has a theory that humans are undergoing an evolutionary transition that is being driven by our culture. Rather than biological evolution that caused physical changes in our evolving species over millions of years, Last believes that cultural evolution is changing the human species in a matter of decades.
What we focus our attention on, what we do changes our DNA. We are becoming a new type of human being. Cadell Last explains that, “Humans are naturally interested in music, movies, mathematics, and science and all of these things. So we’re just entering a world where we can own our own cultural reproduction, and we can engage in this for an entire lifetime.” Read the rest of this entry »
We have heard much of the Mind-Body connection. How thought creates reality. I believe the connection is deeper. That the body is the perfect vehicle for the soul in this earthly dimension. It is through the dense, sensual physical body that the soul learns profound lessons and experiences precious gifts.
Within the temple of the body exists all the knowledge needed for the soul to complete its journey here on earth. The vital information lies deep within each cell, in the genetic blueprint—the DNA. Encoded for optimal existence, our DNA resonates with the earth, with the plants and the animals. And our DNA resonates with others through the experience of Emotion. Emotion is the path to the soul, the body is the garden in which the path takes form. Read the rest of this entry »
Last minute doesn’t work for me. I am most like the goddess when all my bowls are spinning gracefully in the air. For me, last minute feels as if I’m a clown juggling too many balls knowing they’ll soon come tumbling down upon me.
I pack a week ahead. Just be sure I have everything and everything fits. I like to plan ahead for events, ready when the day comes. One of my dearest friends is a Last Minute Lizzie. Every Easter, she would invite us over and twenty more family and friends to celebrate. We would arrive early to help, and find that they were in the midst of a remodeling project (she liked to take advantage of the gathering to get her husband to fix up the house) and she would still need to shop! So off I would go with her while Steve stayed to help him and frantically we would get it together…rarely before the guests arrived… Read the rest of this entry »
Driving back home on Southern California freeways crowded with tourists taking advantage of the last glorious summer weekend…an ache in my breast, a dark shadow where the sun once shone, an eclipse in my existence…I left my daughter, my sunshine, at the university in San Diego.
How long I’ve prepared for this transition, how many soulful meditations, how many intimate conversations with so many other mothers who have gone through this phase of life. Yet in spite of all my work, during that last kiss goodbye, the cords that bound our hearts pulled so tight to nearly snap. Read the rest of this entry »
There are eight shifts of consciousness. I heard these briefly listed in a presentation. They feel very right, yet I needed more, so here they are in order of how most people experience them. I illustrated each shift with examples from my life. You can plug in your own experiences…
—First you ask what’s real? This is the beginning. You’re awakening! Yeah! Read the rest of this entry »
Writing my novel helped me heal the Mother Wound…the original separation from the Divine Mother…as my heroine Mary Magdalen awakened to her truth as the Divine Daughter…so did I…and in doing so received the fullness of the Divine Mother.
I reconnected to Her…embodied in the Earth…enlivened in the hearts of so many women here in Ojai…mothers and grandmothers who receive me…as if I am the Divine Daughter…and I feel it. I see the Divine Daughter energy in so many others…women young and old and even a few precious men.
Nearly three years after LoveDance® was launched, I found myself facing another wound…the Father Wound—separation from the Divine Father. Yes, I had begun Book II… LoveDance® is a trilogy…and I began the second book shortly after the first was launched…I got 1/3 through the writing…and just as my heroine Mary Magdalen confronts her father wound…I could write no more!
Why? Because until I face it, live it, breathe it, am I able to write it. What I wrote in the first book became manifest for me. I did not realize the depth of the mother wound I embodied, imprinted since prenatal time, brought into this lifetime as deep karmic imprints. I had done a regression on myself many years before. Way before LoveDance® …two years before I dreamt I was Mary Magdalen walking down the streets of Nazareth, I brought myself back to the womb…Disentangled myself from maternal karmic imprints… from the Red Cord…
Looking down between my fetal thighs, I was surprised to see NO penis! No blade! How could I accomplish my mission in this form? I felt a pulsation deep in my belly, putrid fearful, coming not from me, but through the umbilical cord—the Red Cord.
It was my mother’s fear. I felt her. Her world as she perceived it…the struggle with her parents, her new husband, her fear…her fear of her mother, then…
I was in my grandmother’s womb feeling her fear through the red cord. And then in her mother’s womb feeling her mother’s fear and her mother’s and back and back in time. Like a video montage, yet I could feel the fear…yellow and acidic as bile…the pain, tears, terror…of losing children, abortions, stillborn babies. Of being raped, used as chattel, traded like beasts. Of husbands, and fathers and lovers beating us, blaming us. Of too many babies, of hunger and pain, of sending our sons off to war and our daughters into the same traps we found ourselves. Of burning at the stake, of drowning, of torture for being our truth. Of giving away our power.
Through my mother’s womb, through hers, and unto the beginning of time. Back to Eve. All of women’s woes…that was my fear. The fear I had been purging forever.
Time to release it.
I awoke with a clear intention and pure desire to release my mothers’ fear, all of my mothers.
In synchronicity that same day, I had an appointment with an energy healer. She was working with another powerful male healer. He stood at my feet, she at my head. I didn’t tell them of my vision, but lay there fully intending to release. And I did. Like a volcanic eruption of black tar, the energy exploded from my belly into the atmosphere. I felt lighter and freer than ever. I opened my eyes laughing and sat up.
The two healers were plastered against the walls of the healing room. “What was THAT?”
“That was fear! And it’s not mine!”
Then I headed to the beach, and lay on the sand, my feet in the water, the sun on my naked skin and was held by the Great Mother. My Divine Mother loves me…I am everything she ever desired in a daughter. I no longer need to purge the fear of my sex.