Taking Care of Number One


lit-candle-reflection ©public domainPsst… Hey you. Yeah, you. You know who you are. You are the perpetual nurturer, hand holder, volunteer, and shoulder to cry on. You’re likely highly sensitive, empathic, or just an all around generous, kind and caring human being.

The problem is, like many people who are nurturers and caregivers, you probably put taking care of yourself on the back burner over and over again. Pretty much the only time you stop taking care of everyone else is when you finally wear yourself down to the point that you get sick and are forced to lay low for a few days. Even then, you’re probably still cooking dinner, doing laundry and washing dishes.

Like a flashlight in the dark, if you keep on burning through the night without recharging your batteries, you’re light is going to burn out. Or think of yourself as the proverbial candle burning at both ends. Eventually you will run out of fuel, and those who have come to depends on you will no longer be able to reap the benefits of your kindness and generosity.

It is important to remember that you can only give out what you’re allowing yourself to receive. And this means that neglecting to take care of yourself can negatively impact the quality of care you give others. You’ll get cranky and short tempered with those who need you, skip important steps, or make a serious mistake.

Now, while a long vacation is certainly a fabulous idea, it’s probably not practical unless you really do happen to have a lot of vacation days that you haven’t used up. (And oh my god, if you do, I’ll take them!) At minimum, taking the time to recharge your batteries can be as simple as taking a half an hour a day to yourself. The important thing is making even just a little time to give yourself a break, show yourself some love, and maybe even a little pampering.

Here are just a few things you might try to give yourself a little recharge:

  • Take a walk in the woods, a park, or the beach
  • Sit quietly outside with a cup of coffee and your newspaper or book
  • Make a little time for a sport you enjoy, such as golf, swimming, canoeing
  • Draw, paint or do something else creative
  • Treat yourself to other hobbies that make you happy
  • Have a candlelight bubble bath
  • Get a facial, manicure or pedicure (or all three!) or do a home facial
  • Get a massage: some therapists offer shorter chair massages that can be more affordable than a full massage for those on a tight budget.
  • Have a Reiki treatment or other type of energy therapy
  • Enjoy a glass of wine and a book before bed
  • Animal Therapy: Play with your pets, walk your dog, or see if your local shelter needs people to walk dogs and play with their cats.
  • Take yourself on a date to the movies or lunch
  • Meditate (And if you think you don’t have time check out this book!)

This certainly isn’t the be all end all list of things to do, and you might find something completely different to be relaxing and rejuvenating.

Sand on my ToesYou don’t have to do all the things, and you don’t have to dedicate hours a day to taking care of yourself, it’s just important that you think about your own well being every day, even if it’s just a quick meditation break or a walk around the block.

Once you’ve taken care of yourself, I promise, you can go right back to taking care of everyone else!

Love & Light.

To Bee or Not To Bee


Bee on Dandelion

It’s spring in Maine, finally! The insect life is waking up, and I’ve had a few encounters with bees recently. I try to pay attention, and even follow my own advice when I have more significant or unusual animal encounters. If an animal makes significant repeated appearances, or if you find the appearance particularly meaningful, there’s a pretty good chance that it’s something you should pay attention to.

In this case, the bee encounters certainly stood out. There was one or two bees who chose to follow me for a walk, another one very determined to get into my car, and a fourth one was a bumblebee just meandering through the produce section in the grocery store. So, should bees of any variety make their way into your life, it might be time to look into what the buzz is all about (just one pun, I promise!).

Bees have long been a powerful symbol in many cultures, representing the sun, fertility, royalty, gods and goddesses. Their seemingly improbable ability to fly can represent achieving the impossible. They gather pollen and contribute to the fertility of countless plants, creating food for themselves and ultimately the world. In their creation of honey, they transform sunlight into liquid energy.

If the bee is buzzing into your life, you may need to find faith in your ability to to take flight and achieve the impossible. Maybe you need to become more aware of what information you gather, distribute, or ingest. Make sure you’re taking the good parts of life and leaving the destructive bits behind. Share only the positive, energy giving honey.

Are you being too much of a worker bee and attempting to do too many things? Do you need to take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labors? Maybe you’re working so hard that you’ve forgotten that you even once enjoyed what you’re doing. Wallowing in the labors of collecting your pollen and forgetting to enjoy the beautiful sunshine that has made it all possible.

A visit from bee may be reminding you to stop and smell the flowers, value your own productivity, creativity, and industriousness. Take time out to enjoy the sun and the honey. Trust in your ability to get done what you need to without working yourself into a frenzy. And maybe, just bee.

For All The Childless Mommies On Mother’s Day | Owning Pink


A beautiful post from Owning Pink:

For All The Childless Mommies On Mother’s Day | Owning Pink.

Walking the Line


balanceOne of the things that I don’t always see addressed when I read about building self-confidence is finding the balance of self-confidence somewhere between no confidence at all and overinflated ego. I know that one of the things I worry about when I find the self-confidence to say out loud, “I’m good at that” is, do I sound confident or do I sound like an egomaniac?

Granted, the fact that I worry about it probably means that I will tend not to get too overinflated, but I think that people who are tentative about their own value, and working up to healthy levels of self-confidence may find themselves underselling their talent for fear of looking egotistical. You might say, “I have pretty good luck training dogs”, when in reality, you’re a highly skilled, successful dog trainer. You might tell someone, “I don’t have any professional training, but I take halfway decent photos if you need some,” when you actually take beautiful photos, training or no.

Highly sensitive people tend to be acutely attuned to the opinions and reactions of others, and may worry about offending people, or coming across as a “know it all.” It’s some of this sensitivity that tends to lend itself to encouraging us to downplay our confidence and talents. We may not be aware of it, but we may picking up on the person’s jealousy, or perhaps their own self-doubt or feelings of inadequacy. It can be difficult to separate out others’ feelings from our own, and also to not put so much stock in their emotions and reactions.

In addition, while it may in fact seem like the opposite is true, people who over exaggerate their own value, hype their talents, brag, and belittle the value of others are more than likely operating out of just as much poor self-confidence as the rest of us. An egotistical person can be a bit like a skunk, a whole lot of show, a big stink, and a hope that you’ll be distracted and not notice their weak spots.

finding balanceA confident, balanced person is able to feel comfortable saying that they’re good at something without the need to show off, brag, or otherwise make a big fuss about it. Part of my own sensitivity, I think, is that I can tell intuitively when someone is feeling frantic about their own lack of confidence, as much as I can when they are quietly stewing in it, and it tends to put me off.

If you are also sensitive, you might feel put off or repelled by these people. If you further investigate the source of what you are feeling, you might sense a certain frenetic, frantic energy behind their words and actions. A sense that they are over explaining their worth. They (inadvertently or on purpose) belittle or trash talk yours or someone else’s work. (Which of course only serves to squash your fledgling confidence).

So then, the goal is to find a way to be opening and accepting of your own worth. You should be willing to share it (calmly and honestly), and refrain from shouting it out to anyone who’ll listen, loudly proclaiming your greatness and causing sensitive people to want to avoid being around you (further diminishing your self-confidence).

Well, how the heck do we do that? As I have often mentioned in this blog, the answer lies in part in being self-aware, paying attention to the words we use and the things we say about ourselves and others. Keep it simple. When people complement you about something, all you need to do is say thank you.

When someone says they need help with dog training and you know how to help, say “I have experience with that, I can help”. Offer references if you don’t feel comfortable explaining your skill level. If someone says they need help taking photos and you know you can do it, you can simply say, “I would love to take some photos for you.” And again, if you’re not so confident yet to say just how good a photographer you are, you can always direct them to samples of your work. No need to say “Oh my GOD, don’t use HIM, he’s SO expensive, and blah, blah, blah!” Over exaggerating yourself, particularly at the expense of others, is a big turn off, particularly if the person you’re speaking with is also sensitive to such things.

Walking the PathI find this all particularly interesting/challenging as a person who does a lot of things that require the ability to self-promote. Art, writing, even healing and psychic work require you to put yourself out there in order to actually work and earn a living. Which of course puts you out there to the opinions and criticisms of others, and requires a huge leap of self-confidence. Yet, you don’t want to come across as so egotistical and filled with hot air that you turn people off and lose their interest in your work entirely.

I suppose that like someone who loves dessert, you can choose to eat cake and cookies every day, or completely deprive yourself. Or you can find a healthy point in between, where you can eat the things you love occasionally without gaining 100 pounds. Like everything in life, be it food, finances, or self-confidence, it’s all about finding balance.

May you find your own balance and make it safely (and sanely) across the wobbly suspension bridge of life…

An’ do what ye will…


Forest lightPeople who have made the decision to walk down the path of “non-traditional” spirituality, or have chosen to openly declare themselves a psychic or a medium, know what an interesting and sometimes extremely challenging path that can be.

There are, of course, inherent challenges to any type of spiritual path. To do it right, you really need to be willing to work on your own personal emotional and spiritual baggage. Much of what we share with others, be it in a psychic reading or spiritual counseling, is the result of our own experiences, soul searching, facing our inner demons, and learning to trust in what is frequently an intangible source of information and guidance.

And then, there are the social challenges. In my experience, things are a lot better today than they were 20-25 years ago. One of my first psychic fairs was picketed. I was accused of being a Satanist. One “friend” regularly told me he feared for my soul and that I was going to go to hell. Fortunately, I do not hold much stock in the “going to hell” aspect, and when I told him I thought he was hilarious, he gave up on me. 🙂

For these reasons, a lot of psychics over the years have taken on pseudonyms. Primary to avoid professional or private life repercussions related to what might happened if the “wrong person” discovered what they do.

Forest BrookIn recent years, despite setbacks caused by high profile scam artists or well-intentioned fakes, the general metaphysical world seems to be viewed with a more open mind. Some of the same growing public open mindedness that has helped other fringe communities slowly find more mainstream acceptance has at least minimally decreased the number of people who freak out, react negatively, or sidle cautiously away when they hear about someone’s psychic work. At the minimum, I think there is more of a sense of live and let live. As long as you aren’t hurting someone, go for it.

For those who vehemently object to or publically scoff at the idea of psychic phenomenon, energy healing and people who communicate with spirits, it’s an interesting juxtaposition of ignorant and hypocritical thought patterns. I’ve heard the argument that science has been unable to conclusively prove that extrasensory perception, psychic intuition, or spirit communication works. Yet, ironically, some of the same people who forcefully deny the possibility of psychic phenomenon frequently believe fervently in an unseen, omnipotent god force or benevolent messiah.

These same people believe in the power of prayer, messages from god, and communing with Jesus, despite the fact that science has been unable to satisfactorily prove the existence of any of these beings either. Religious leaders heal with their words and their presence. They share the messages from God as presented by people who were called prophets. All the while only having minimal tangible proof of their existence.

I find it ironic that these beliefs somehow lead people to the conviction that it’s impossible for there to be unexplained phenomenon outside of a church, synagogue, or other religious institution. That they can’t find it within their hearts to believe that the God who works in mysterious ways can somehow work in other, even more mysterious ways.

Do not confuse a psychic or other intuitive who does not consider themselves religious with not being an otherwise extremely spiritual person. Most true, conscientious psychics work from a very strict set of moral, spiritual, and ethical standards.

Azure BluetVarious versions of the adage “And it harm none, do what ye will” hold sway in Wiccan and psychic communities. The laws of karma have bearing around the world, and the idea that you give back what you give out. They work in the best interest of all involved, and they learn important rules of ethics, and seeking the permission of the people they’re reading for. Many of them spend years working on their own personal baggage in order to be better able to help with yours.

That’s not to say that every practicing psychic is a good person, or follows these rules exactly. Any more than every religious leader is an infallible, godly person. We are all human beings. We make bad choices, and we bear the consequences of these decisions one way or another.

So, I’ve rambled on for quite a while now, but the main point of this conversation was to remind people to think about the mysterious ways the universe works. Whether you’re considering someone’s psychic abilities, their belief in the paranormal, or even their religious beliefs, consider the possibilities presented by the things you DO believe in. Maybe there’s a lot more out there than even you believe.

The Baby Dichotomy


angelBWI have to count myself as fortunate that most people who know my husband and I have stopped asking why we don’t have kids. Now that we’re in our 40s, and we still don’t have them, I think most either presume that we just don’t want them or they know the painful truth – that I have had four miscarriages. It took a long time to conceive, and they just did not last.

For each pregnancy, we were equally hopeful, equally terrified, and then equally devastated. In a society where amazing medical breakthroughs happen all the time, we are left with what minimal insurance we can afford through the Affordable Care Act. And even when we had decent insurance, the kinds of things that would help us conceive -and stay pregnant- are financially beyond our reach.

Now that I am in my 40s, other complications add themselves to the mix. How can a person who was a high risk pregnancy in her 20s and 30s pull off such a miracle over the age of 40? After the last one a few years ago I firmly decided I never wanted to go through that again. Since then, I have waffled back and forth on a monthly, weekly, sometimes even daily basis. I think about my younger self, raised in a society where little girls grew up, got married, and had babies. That part of me thinks of myself as an abject failure. The core sense of being a woman, of how I was supposed to be someone’s mom, is broken.

I spend a lot of time telling myself that now that we’ve been married 20+ years, living the “no kids lifestyle” for so, so long, that there is no way we could possibly even adjust to being parents now. Then I waffle back and think well, we adjust to my husband’s changing jobs and going back to college. We adjust to my own rather regular changes in career and life directions. We are not yet so old and set in our ways that adjusting to being parents would be impossible.

Then, I waffled back to, yeah, but holy crap each failure sucks so much, and I really, really don’t want to go through that again. Then I waffled back to yeah, but what if… What if I really am meant to be someone’s mom? What if this next time IS the right time? What if by waffling in the wrong direction, we are missing out on that important little person in our life? Then, I waffle back to, well, we don’t have very good insurance. How could we even financially afford the medical expenses that could likely result from the trying to make this one last effort stick?

white-lily-flowersMaybe we could adopt. This is something we’ve considered. But again, the financial uncertainty scares me. Other random fears like adopting a child with physical or mental/emotional troubles terrifies me. At the same time I realize that even a child of my own could have the same troubles, so that’s not really all that much of an excuse. Then, there is the decision of trying to adopt a baby, or adopting an older child, and all those different implications.

What is the answer? I don’t know yet. I suppose the clock really is ticking at this point and decisions should be made. I should, of course, better educate myself on some of my options. But naturally, we often find ourselves “too busy” for those things which are the really difficult, even painful, decisions.

Why do I even feel compelled to share this story with the unknown (and known) public? Many reasons, I suppose. First of all, I am fairly certain I not the first woman in history, or possibly even the only woman I know, going through this situation. I want to help others maybe feel less alone and dysfunctional, while helping myself feel less alone and dysfunctional in the process.

I was also intuitively compelled to share it. I’m not even entirely sure where it came from. Maybe one of those countless posts that go by on Facebook about the bond between a parent and child, or “share if you have awesome kids”. Maybe I’m not the only one sometimes tempted to share them because I think my fur kids are pretty awesome.

rain dropMaybe I share it because someone out there right now needed to know that they aren’t crazy for having the same waffling thought train.

Maybe someone else needed to read it and think twice before asking their friend or family member or coworker, for the countless number of times, why they don’t have kids yet.

Maybe someone else needs to see that a spiritual person working on walking a spiritual, awakened path does not always have their shit together as well as you might imagine.

Maybe it’s to help those naysayers who dispute continued efforts to improve and expand our healthcare system that it’s not just lazy, dysfunctional sponges that need help and access to better health and reproductive care, but every day, average, hard-working, loving human beings that could use a little more help preventing the massive financial burdens caused by health care expenses of every flavor.

Maybe it’s every one of these things, and more, that someone out there needs to hear. Meanwhile, I will go back to working on getting my shit together, while hopefully giving you a little more insight on your own…  (:

Love & Light

When the Storms of Life Rage On, Don’t Get Too Prickly


I’ve had people tell me that hikes are boring. They clearly haven’t gone for a hike with me! I think that people kind of forget that there’s more to hiking that just plodding along the trail. Sometimes you never know what’s just around the corner, or hidden in the brush alongside the trail.

StormyLast week on a hike, I was racing a pretty ominous looking thunderstorm. Let’s just say it turned into more of a jog than a hike, as I turned around to beat feet the 1.6 miles back to the car. I decided I had a better chance of not getting struck by lightning if I turned around rather than trying to continue another two plus miles to finish the loop.

Along the trail, I was startled by something ambling along the path. A chubby little porcupine! He got into the underbrush and it was difficult to photograph him, so I chalked it up to a fun memory. About five minute later, I see another chubby little shape ambling down the trail in front of me. Another porcupine! This one didn’t seem to care that I was hiking along behind him, but it was just far enough ahead that I had a hard time capturing a good photo. I did however start to think about the frequent appearance of this prickly little critter.

Porcupines amble along through life, and with the exception of a few predators – primarily fishers and mountain lions – have earned the respect of the animal kingdom. They are generally peaceful, they don’t “throw” their quills, and their major defense actually requires that an attacker get close enough to truly harm them before it does it’s job.

PorcupineCabelasSpringfield0511In animal wisdom, Porcupine often represents a reminder not to spend too much time caught up in the seriousness and gravity of life. Honor your playful spirit, and take time to wander through nature, or simply through your imagination, and hunt for treasures.

Don’t let negative old barbs or pain from the past haunt you and drain the happiness from your present. Don’t allow yourself to become so prickly that people are afraid to come near you. Trust that when you really need it, your defenses will help protect you.

Go forth and shed your quills.

Love & Laughter,

Tricia

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