Solitude, Why the Crazy Cat Lady is the new Guru

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Remember when we were kids and we’d see that lady checking out at the grocery store with 20 cans of cat food, one bag of kitty litter, ten lean cuisines, and a bottle of wine? I remember thinking, “Please God, don’t ever let me become a Crazy Cat Lady.” Well, here I am and all I’m missing is a cat. Thing about cats is that there’s always one that needs a home and they can smell out a solitary cat-less person from ten blocks away. Cats are magical, that’s why they are our masters. But I digress.

The thing about slowly becoming a Crazy Cat Lady is that there is no one around to disturb you. You have all the time in the world. You can spend hours talking to God, talking to shrubs (see my last blog post), meditating, working out, buying yourself a yummy gyro, and talking to friends who are also slowly evolving into Crazy Cat Women. The other perk is that you never have to share your wine.

Solitude has been sold to us as this terrible state of loneliness that eats the soul and withers the mind when in fact it’s a great place to heal, set internal boundaries, face down your personal demons, and really get to know yourself. You can’t know yourself in a crowd, but sit quietly alone and all of YOU will show up, the good and the troubling. I no longer fill my days. I wander through them. I cry, I reach out, I go to therapy, I see where I went wrong, and I see where I went right, I savor, I take deep breaths, and I simply exist. This is the most Zen I have been allowed to be in my entire life.

I no longer believe that time is money, that I need to keep my nose to the grindstone, or that the person with the most toys wins. Instead, I believe in watching squirrels hide nuts and chase each other up trees, I believe I can hear God in the wind when it blows through the forest, I believe in random miracles and intentional miracles and…just all miracles. I believe in appreciating mountains while not feeling the need to climb them. I believe in the magic of pedestrians who don’t look when they cross and I believe in the drivers who manage not to hit them everyday in this beautiful metropolis I live in. I believe in God because I see God in every person and structure and breeze that lifts every leaf in every tree.

The first step to following the teachings of the Crazy Cat Lady is to let go of social norms, stop caring about what the neighbor thinks, and just coexist. Meet your friends at the corner café and talk about art and music, or physics and spirituality if you’re feeling particularly saucy, and definitely talk about your cats because they’re magical, remember? Lastly, love yourself and all the people you come into contact with because in truth, everyone is fighting their own battles and no one gets off this planet alive.

Cheers my beloveds. Everyday is a new adventure. Meet it with all the grace and authenticity you can muster.

Wear your comfy shoes. Your fantastic just as you are. There is nothing you need do…except feed the cat.

Moving your Body to Clear your Mind

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I did my research and found that nothing I read about the effects of exercise on emotional regulation was at all helpful. Most articles focused on preventing life threatening illness. While prevention is great, it calls to mind the myriad calamities we humans face everyday and if my blog is about anything, its about healing and faith not fear and illness. So, I decided to wing it.

First off, I walk every day. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I cry and pray, sometimes I cry and pray out loud and talk to a nearby shrub or hug a tree. I am that lady who looks perfectly normal until she says to an unoffending shrub, “Dear God please help me survive today. I’m in your hands and you are all I have.” This is generally how my morning walks go. I walk to release my grief, to breath fresh air, to connect to nature, to connect with God, and to connect with my body in a deep and meaningful way. Half way through my five mile walk I feel a sense of calm come over my mind as if both hemispheres of my brain have stopped fighting. The color of the trees become more vivid and that inoffensive shrub I poured my heart out too looks almost angelic. We’ve become very close.

I don’t stop walking when my mind calms and my grief subsides. I keep walking, setting my sights on a distant garden hidden by trees where I can sit on a park bench and meditate. I keep walking because reaching my five-mile goal will make my body and mind relax for the day and give me the peace I need to soldier on. Once I reach my private garden my eyes are dry and my mind is calm. I can go into deep meditation, connect with God fully and completely, and end my meditation feeling at peace.

Whether you’re having a mental breakdown, suffer with mental health issues, or just feel bummed or anxious about the state of the world, exercise will help. Do what you can, start small, work up slowly, and most important of all, take the deep belly breaths that calm your central nervous system. Today I lifted weights, walked my town, and did some yoga in my micro studio, which was an adventure in itself. And please remember as you move in your own special way that your Creator, by whatever name you use, is with you. Faith is healing even if you choose to pray to a convenient houseplant or an unassuming shrub. Faith will always see you through. So, please remember that… You are held. You are blessed. You are important and needed in this time of change.

Keep going. I love you. You got this.

Bring your Darkness to the light

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“If you bring forth what is within you,

what you bring forth will save you,

If you do not bring for what is within you,

what you do not bring forth will destroy you.

-The Gnostic Christ- Dead sea scrolls

Healing your stored trauma can be a scary undertaking. You have glimpses of what lays beneath the surface of your everyday life, but reaching down into the depths and grasping onto your painful past may be too much to bear. Healing is not for the weak. That’s why there are choices. You can stay in your disturbed normal, constantly triggered, depressed, plagued by nightmares and memories. You can smile through the pain and keep your nose to the grind stone. Or you can act out, making your pain everyone else’s pain, screaming in unwary people’s faces because they dare to wear the same kind of coat the man who raped you wore, or do their hair the way your violent mother did. Lastly, you can choose to dive deep and grasp onto your trauma and raise it into the light.

If you choose this last path, you are choosing healing, a release from pain and a path to self-discovery more beautiful than anything you could ever imagine. I have grasped this last path and I swear to you it is worth it. Your greatest hardship will probably be finding a good trauma therapist. I have yet to find one but have found that through meditation, talking to friends with trauma, and working with the 13 therapists I have gone through, I have gained an insight into what it is to drag your past into the light.

Begin with a trigger, sit down with the trigger and meditate on it. If you don’t know how to meditate learn on YouTube. Once you are able to sit with the trigger try to feel where it sits in the body. If this is too much, STOP! Some trauma cannot be processed alone. If you are managing to maintain self-mastery continue. Sit with the place where the trigger rests in the body and ask, how old was I when this happened, who was there, what happened, and finally, how can I release this. If it is a childhood trauma, comfort your little child, take the child away and take them to a safe place. I have a sacred place where my children recover until they are ready to reintegrate with me. This sacred place is a Disneyland of wonder watched over by angels.

We release trauma by crying and shaking it out, by coughing it up, by sobbing, by screaming into pillows, by journaling page after page as we feel and see what happened and offer it up to the light. Then share it in group, with your therapist, or if your lucky to have trauma informed friends, share it with them. What is done in the dark will come to the light-Genesis:4. And what you bring forth will save you- Gnostic Christ-Dead Sea Scrolls.

Healing takes time but the parts of you that will return are incredibly beautiful: Self-worth, creativity, righteous anger, adventure, emotional regulation, and so much more. If fear is what is standing in the way, remind yourself that fear is only the absence of faith. Faith in your creator to always have your back will unravel fear. Fear is not real. It only exists in the ego mind. You don’t need it. Choose faith and you will conquer fear, become fearless, step outside the power of the fearmongers, and become truly and completely you. YOU are the person you were meant to be. YOU are the person you have been waiting for. Dare greatly, live boldly, surrender your burdens to divinity, and reclaim your place on the world stage.

You are needed, you are wanted, you are deserving. Go forth and be great.

I love you.

Beautiful Object

Concept By Anonymous

The beautiful object waited quietly in the corner shop window. Someday she knew a collector would come and choose her from among all the other beautiful objects that sat around her. One harmonious day when the sun was glinting off her well polished surface she saw the collector she had been hoping for, the collector who had come to appreciate her, and choose her from among all the other beautiful objects. When he looked on her, when he chose her, when he took her home, she was filled with a shimmer that shined from the depths of her heart. Joy glowed out through her beautiful exterior illuminating her many miraculous colors.

The collect wrapped her carefully in paper and held her carefully in his arms as he carried her home. Once home he took her from the box and held her in his hands. He turned her over looking on her with pride and then placed her with love upon a shelf where he could see her always from anywhere in the room. The beautiful object was filled with joy to be so loved and appreciated and to have been chosen from among so many other beautiful objects.

The days pass, she was happy and he watched her from afar, moving through his day, through his life, seeing her from the corner of his eye, and smiling. Yes, she was a beautiful object, and she knew in her heart that he loved her and she loved him. But the days grew longer, she saw him less often, and dust begin to gather upon her beautiful exterior.

After what seemed like an eternity she heard his return and her heart lifted. In time he came to her and taking her gently in his hands he wiped the dust from her eyes, from her head, from her beautiful exterior, and held her so lovingly that once again she began to glow with joy, and hope, and love, and light. Then without ceremony he sat her down again upon the shelf.

A long time past before he touched her again. She grew sad and lonely on her self. She wanted to see him, to be held by him, to be touched by him, to have the dust washed from her eyes, and from her glowing exterior. She wanted to be beautiful, and to be bright, to be loved, but he was gone missing somewhere in the world. The dust grew thicker and thicker until she could no longer see the sunlight coming in the window and it could no longer pierce the filth that clung to her beautiful sides leaving her un-illuminated. And yet she longed for the moment when he remembered that she existed, for the moment when he came and dusted away the dust, and held her in the light, and loved her for her beauty, for her fine lines, and for the way she lit up when he looked on her.

One day he came home and he held under his arm a thing carefully wrapped in paper. The beautiful object could not see yet she heard the paper and she felt his appriciation through the dust, thought it was not directed at her. She felt him grow closer and her heart began to glow. She felt the light that would pour through her when he cleaned away the dust, when he held her in his hands, when they were once again reunited, and he appreciated her the way she deserve to be appreciated.

But when he came to her he pushed her aside and he placed before her a new and beautiful object. He did not take her from the shelf, he did not dust her, he did not clean the dirt away from her eyes, or hold her in his hands and appreciate her. instead his eyes were focused lovingly on the new beautiful object that glowed with sunshine and with light, basking in the warmth of his attention.

With time the beautiful object became completely blinded by the dust and debris of her life on the shelf and she even began to forget what it was to be held, to be touched, to be loved, to be looked at, and appreciated. She languished in blindness for many years. On the last day that she would spend with the collector who had shown her such love, she thought only of the memory of sunlight and the way she used to glow. She felt no hope, she felt no light, she felt no love, she only felt a sudden longing for movement forward toward something new, something unknown.

The movement came, the unknown followed. When the dust was finally washed from her eyes and the light again poured through her beautiful sides she found herself in a new place, held in new hands, dusted with new love. New eyes regarded her with great appreciation for her beauty, for her unique lines, for the special figure that she was. And her heart bloomed again as it had of old, and she felt love pouring through her, she felt light shimmering inside her, and she felt happiness pouring over her. Everyday the new collector held her, dusted her eyes and lifted her to the light mesmerized by the way the sunshine played through her miraculous colors. Once again, the beautiful object who had hoped, and wished, and longed, began to learn trust, certainty, and peace. And she learned that she had value not because of the joy she gave but because of the joy she felt inside herself when the light filled her and she remembered what it was to glow.

Glow on beloved brothers and sisters. You were born to be the light.

This is your life

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Welcome to your life. It’s filled with color and vibrancy when you slow down enough to see it. Listen to the meow of the cat, the bark of the dog, the buzz of that obnoxious fly that wont stop circling around the room. Take your partner’s hand every chance you get, bake that special tart grandma used to make, taste the soup when it’s still too hot, bake homemade bread from scratch, share butter and salt kisses that lead to, well…you know. This is your life.

Dance in the kitchen to a dumb song you just made up, own at least one Hawaiian print shirt. Hint…everything Hawaii is good for the soul. Eat cookies in bed, always let the pets sleep with you. Dance with your children from the time they can walk. When they are half a century old, they will still remember what it was like to stand on daddy’s feet and sway to the music. Don’t worry if your house is dirty or if your car is a mess, go to the zoo anyways. Elephants are so much more magical than vacuums. This is your life.

Don’t over schedule your children. Give them time to play and run around the neighborhood and scratch up their knees and crash their bikes and climb trees. Remember, this is their life. Play sad music you can cry too and remember what it feels like to love and lose. Play happy music that is goofy, the kind your teenager rolls their eyes at but smiles at too. This is your life.

Hold your loved ones close. Cry happy tears for the simple fact that they were born and came to live in your life. What a freaking miracle it is that they found you and that they love you. This is your life and it is beautiful.

Happy Saturday beloveds. Now go out and play.

The Human Butterfly Effect: Chaos or Cohesion?

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Humans hate change. We live for certainty and stability in our lives. From the time we are small we look for constancy from our home and community. Instability becomes a thing to fear and often causes the most trauma we experience as children. We grow up spoon-fed on fairy tales that teach us that if we go to the right schools, marry the right person, buy the right house, have the right number of kids, and work really hard we will have the stability we crave. Truth is change is a constant we cannot avoid. Change comes in three ways: chance, choice and, crisis. The important thing is that even in the worst chance or crisis moment where change is inevitable, you still have a choice. The choice is how you choose to react to the change. No matter how much pain the change comes with you still have a choice in how you handle the new situation. Do you panic, do you give up, or do you find a new way to live?

The universal law of cause-and-effect states that every cause has an effect and every effect becomes the cause of something else. So In reality every disturbance in our personal ecosystem creates a disturbance in the lives or personal ecosystems of the people in the community we live in. And as their lives are disturbed, no matter how minutely, there is a butterfly effect that ripples out touching every person who comes into contact with every person who came into contact with you and your change. The butterfly effect is a metaphor for the principal of chaos theory describing the sensitivity of a given system and its dependency on given conditions. Our personal environments, the social systems we live in, are incredibly delicate and are affected by every change that occurs no matter how distant or minute.

When we are faced with a change that affects us on a massive scale and damages our physical, mental and emotional stability, the emotional and mental stability of our ecosystems and those around us are also affected. In these times of dramatic change, it is necessary to try to center and ground yourself, to reach for help and reassurance, and remember that you have three choices. You can fix the problems the change brought, reframe your thinking about the change, or sit in the center of your new normal and become lost in grief for how things used to be.

Change is the only constant and surrendering to its inevitability is the healthiest way to handle it. Surrendering to your new reality will feel difficult at first but it will help your mind shift into flexible thinking patterns that will further aid you when the next change occurs. Ground yourself in the now, surrender your life to your higher power, and pray for guidance as you navigate your new normal with grace. Change is coming, prepare yourself now to be the best version of you so that when it comes you can greet it with the calm and presence of mind that will not disrupt your community through ripples of chaos and fear but with the peace and tranquility of a divinely centered being capable of adaptation and serenity even in the face of upheaval. Your community needs this of you. The ripple effect of one negative, unbalanced person can set of a tidal wave of instability and chaos that is far reaching and traumatic to the small and sensitive individuals that live within our communal sphere so be mindful of how you go. You are important, your life is important, and how you react to the world around you is your greatest gift or your greatest curse to your community at large.

I love you-Keep going-You got this

Self-regulation and the baby steps to joy

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Why do we hurt? Why is trauma so emblazoned in our memory that to touch it with thought is to relive it, moment by torturous moment, until we sink under the weight of the memory. The loss of a grandparent, the loss of a friend, a miscarriage, a rape, a breakup with the person you thought was the one. Why do we hurt until we break, even years after the moment of pain has passed? Whoever said time heals all wounds was never traumatized, and never felt a loss so acute that sixty years later just a fragment of the memory is a punch to the gut.

Two people can witness the same traumatic event, a car crashing into a pole at high speeds. The first viewer is troubled, talks to the police, talks to his family and friends and lets the incident slip into his past. The second viewer is traumatized, cries when he talks to the police, can not discuss the incident with his family or friends, avoids the place where the accident occurred and is shaken every time he sees a car similar in color and type to the one in the accident.

Why did both people come to such different places in terms of how they reacted to the incident? First is the preconditioning of the nervous system. The first viewer has self-regulation, few past traumas and a set sense of self and the world around him. The second viewer has a dysregulated nervous system, lives in high alert, and has a poor sense of self and the world around him. He has been traumatized before, and the world is a scary and uncertain place for him.

What makes the memory so physically painful for viewer two is the amount of emotion he was flooded with when the incident occurred. His preprogrammed heightened arousal to danger, his low self-regulation, and high sense of uncertainty etched the car crash into his memory in horrifying detail. It is the amount of emotion experienced by the perceiver that decides whether an incident is traumatic or just simply troubling.

Self-regulation is key to managing trauma and stopping new trauma from forming. We self-regulate by talking to a qualified trauma specialist, doing deep breathing work to regulate the nervous system, going regularly to yoga or tai chi classes, managing stress, practicing prayer and meditation, and above all by surrounding ourselves with people and environments that help us feel calm and supported. Calming and regulating the nervous system is key to self-regulation and regulating the emotional brain.

So, turn off the news, cut out toxic people that leave you feeling weakened and drained, do not watch movies that are fear based, and lastly have faith in the creator who made you. Dr. Brene’ Brown says, we dress rehearse tragedy to beat vulnerability to the punch, meaning we live in a constant state of expecting our next trauma because it is too terrifying to believe that joy just might be our next great experience. To experience joy, we must first be vulnerable and willing to be open to change. I ask you to lean into your Creator, lean into healthy love, lean into gratitude, lean into your healing work, and prepare yourself for joy; After all, joy was once your natural state of being.

Keep going-You got this-I love you

The Traveling Now

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The way forward is not in the past. To look back is to be trapped in Ego’s memory loop. The memory loop is a Ground Hog Day of unending memory where you fight people who are not there, argue a point with the dead, and wage a battle that was lost years ago, only to fight, argue and battle the same people again the next day, on and on until death. The battle field is small; It’s only in your head, but the pain the memory causes is real and taxing to your mind and body. Letting the past go will heal you on many levels.

Mindfulness practice asks us to live in the now, to quiet the ego mind through meditative practice and prayer, and become one with what Terry Pratchett called the traveling now. How is the now ever traveling? It is traveling because the moment you are in it, it is already passing like a stream you wade through. the traveling now washes around your ankles and past you into the distance, into the past. Is it still the same stream you stepped into moments ago? As a body of water, yes, it is the stream, but the water is different with each passing moment. Here goes a leaf, a twig, a fish, a piece of water grass. This is your life ebbing and flowing around you. When we are lost in Ego’s memory loop we miss the sparkle of sunlight on a ripple, the jump and splash of a fish as it catches its dinner.

When we choose to stay in the traveling now with our minds clear, understanding that thoughts, like twigs and leaves, will come and go, we see the sunlight sparkle, we see the fish jump, we whiteness our lives. Thoughts will come and go; When we learn to observe them and release them with detachment and without resistance, we remain present, embodied and whole. We surrender to the beauty of the moment, missing nothing.

In this now in which I write to you, lives your observer consciousness. Your conscious self reads these words, witnesses your life, and sees all the magic in every moment you experience. Living in the now is where life has flavor, scent, taste and texture because by stepping into your life you are free to savor it. Let go of the memory loop. love and allow your ego to become an obedient servant that whispers instead of shouts. With mindfulness practice, the ego will become the helpful tool it was built to be, handling the small stuff while you enjoy your life.

Keep going-you got this-I love you

I Go Bravely

I go bravely even though all my cards are played, my house has fallen, my love is broken, and I stand here naked as a babe in the snow. I am blue with the cold of my vulnerability, yet I stand head held high before my demons daring them to come and take me. Is this bravery, this slow suicide we women face because we dared to say no, take a stand, and then find ourselves alone in the elements with no place to turn? If so I’ll choose this death over the suffocation of your fine cage. You were master, punisher, with holder of love, but no more. I have freed myself and in going free I have taken flight into the chasm of the vast unknown, knowing only that my heart still beats and tomorrow will come wether I have the strength to join it or not. Though my parachute will catch no air and my wings have lost their feathering I will take this fall believing it is better to break and be reborn then to remain whole and unchanged. I go bravely into this world without the insurance of a good life, but with a life, my life, held, captured, grasped tightly in my own two hands.

Magdalena’s Kirkus Review

 

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My new book has been released and so has its Kirkus Review. I’m actually pleased with it. It’s obvious that the reviewer skipped through the end, something Kirkus is under fire for. The reviewer calls Coco’s ability to successfully run a business a “head-scratcher” yet Coco admits that she doesn’t know how to run a business and nearly runs the label into the ground. Still, I’m happy with the way the reviewer states that, “Lovers of fashion will enjoy the fantasy of a supermodel’s daughter being showered with free designer outfits and instantly becoming a lauded model herself. Also likely to please are the details of Coco’s and others’ clothing designs and insider looks at the fashion world. Coco’s abandonment issues also deepen the story, as she learns to handle both independence and motherhood.”  I loved writing this coming of age romance seeded with little bits of wisdom and a whole lot of romantic drama and sexual intensity. I loved telling Coco’s story from beginning to end. If you want a fun escape with a coming of age romance  filled with fashion, sex and intrigue give Magdalena’s Shadow a try.

Love and blessings,

E. E. Orme