Coming Up Oranges

I had paintbrushes in my hand – clean, wet, brushes –dipped only in water.  I was about to paint something.  My attention was sidetracked by a sound from the next room and I went to investigate.  I returned to the drawing still hesitant to get color on the brushes and the canvas.  I heard another sound, an angry meow, and, looking down, saw a cat between my thighs.  Angry cat face – its teeth bared in protest, a soundless hiss.  I covered the cat with a black cloth and hit it on the head.  I woke up touching myself.

Instantly, in the semi-darkness of my room, I came to know two things: My vaj-jayjay was angry at me, and, although in childhood I was very artistically creative, I was now more inclined to express the energy in that area of my body sexually rather than creatively.

Had I not recently gotten the news of “abnormal cells” from my doctor, the dream of an angry cat between my legs would have had me getting up to see if my 15 year old cat was low on water…again.

The results of my pap smear led me to look deep into myself and into that part of my body and energy anatomy where the imbalance lay.   I was forced to look at relationships – my earliest male relationships with both my father and my pedophile neighbor; my inability to commit; my habitual dishonoring of marriage and other unions; my superficial relationship with my invisible mother.  I saw the way I wielded my sexual energy: like a sword – powerfully overwhelming and sharp, or like a trap.  I investigated how I expressed my creativity – buying but not using paints, creative tools and canvasses; fabric bought with curtains in mind often remained folded in a closet until sold at a garage sale or given to charity; ideas birthed in excitement suffered slow deaths.  Money and finances were often left up to men or luck as I had no clue – bounced checks, bankruptcy, and foreclosure were the results.  These were all classic second (sacral) chakra challenges.

I had been obsessed with orange for about 3 years now: orange purses, orange pillows, orange vases, orange juice (this even from childhood), orange clothing.  Orange – my creativity needing expression, my sexuality needing alignment, my finances needing an overhaul, my relationships demanding balance.  Orange – for caution, for slowing down, and for prudence.  Thinking it was about fashion and décor, I ignored the signs. 

At our neighborhood Halloween party this year the palm reader looked at my fingers.  “You need to create!” she almost shouted, “Your fingers, your hands need to sew, to garden, to play the piano….”

 I looked at her, feeling smug in the knowing that I had sewn the sexy cavewoman costume I was wearing.  I had sewn it by hand as my sewing machine was broken.  I was creating like a mo-fo. 

Her words – almost of alarm – come back to me sometimes.  No longer feeling smug, I sit with them realizing that if I do not continue to clear the blocked energy from my sacral chakra, if I continue to be who I have always been, and, if I continue to behave as I have always behaved, I will suffer or die. Not that death is a bad thing. 

As a nurse I know the implications of “abnormal cells” and as an intuitive/healer I also know that I must first look at and heal the root cause as the physical body is the expression of the spirit.  Clearing my father’s energy (Second Generation) was one of my first steps.  I feel much gratitude to the man who recently indirectly assisted by reflecting that imbalance to me in a way that I was forced to look at it dead on.  I am also grateful to another man who gifted me with softness, sweetness, nurturing, and gentleness I was unused to.  

As the year closes I find myself releasing more than energies, people, habits, and things.  I know I am also releasing life as I have known it.

I look forward to my birth.

Courtni  ~The Soul Muse

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Integration

I had a reading a while back where the intuitive told me I tended to keep parts of my life separate, fragmented, similar to the way I did with food on my plate as a child.  The yams were not to touch the rice and heaven forbid if the meat touched anything.  If rice ‘n peas (beans) were cooked together (a delicious Jamaican dish) I would still pick out and eat the beans by themselves.

Recently I determined that I was done fragmenting my Self.   I had been on the “spiritual path” for so long I had forgotten what it was like to fully feel the rest of me.  Not only that but much like a religionist in their outlook and actions towards those not believing in “The Way” I had become judgmental towards those not on “a spiritual path” and a downright stick-in-the-mud.   Last month I began using what I have learned on my path in practical ways to help me find my perfect home.  I had decided then to allow my spirituality to infuse into every component of my existence.  Once that decision was made the Universe rolled into action giving me the opportunity to walk my talk.

A text from a friend/lover today read “U wanna go to the Ronald McDonald house gala tomorrow night?  My business partner is on their board.”

Immediately pardoning the last minute invitation, (What? You think that an electrifying woman such as I would be without plans and alone on a Saturday night?) I felt excited, pleased, flattered, and then panicked.  OMG I have nothing to wear!  I rushed to my closet thinking that the perfect dress would just materialize but no dice.  In my mind’s eye I saw myself years ago when I was “non-spiritual”, strutting into places like galas, formals, balls, dressed to the gills or rather undressed below the gills – usually in a form-fitting, body-baring, low-cut sleeveless black dress (if you could call what I wore a “dress” in those days) while eyes in the room turned as if to ask “Who is that interesting woman?  Is she a model?” Actually someone did ask that on one occasion when I showed up to a physician’s formal on the arms of a surgeon acquaintance but that is beside the point.

With my narrow focus on spirituality to the exclusion of everything else, and with my customary fragmenting of Self, I no longer thought of myself as that “interesting woman” who went to formals in black dresses even if the trend of the times demanded pastels or brightly colored flowery print.   I had thrown away or given away that part of myself symbolically by donating all my formals to charity.   I was a “Spiritual Seeker”, that frivolous part of my life was over, and I was now more comfortable in jeans and T shirts – judiciously eschewing the flowing purple, gold, or chakra colored caftans favored by some spiritual seekers.   If a man told me I was beautiful, pretty, or whatever, I wondered if he was psychic – able to see the “real” me and being attracted to the brilliance of my inner light.  My physicality was hardly a focus for me.  Also I no longer attracted men who went to formals as I didn’t think I belonged in that world.  In fact, until a few months ago, the men I attracted were other spiritual seekers who had major poverty issues.

I just remembered that only yesterday, as I exited an upscale furniture store, I silently declared that I wanted to be with someone who did the formal thing once in a while and who would be proud to take me along as his date – someone who was also comfortable in that world.  Note to self: When you ask for stuff, be prepared to receive it.  I should have been more prepared.  Preparation would have meant a sexy dress in my closet or at least shopping for one yesterday to go with the thought.   I guess I could still shop for one tomorrow but I’ve already told him I “had plans” which is a face-saving code for “I have nothing to wear but am too embarrassed to let you know that.”

I know one day on the dance floor or at the bar of a fashionable event I will tell him the truth and we will laugh.  He might then offer to go shopping with me to get a dress for me to wear to our next chic event.   My eyes will sparkle with joy knowing that there is a “next event” and he wants me there with him.  But that is beside the point.

I sense now a coming together of Self, an integration.  No longer am I just a down-to-earth spiritual seeker – nor was I ever just that.  I choose now to consciously see myself as ALL THAT I AM all at once.   I’m not yet sure how my life will look and be with this integration but since I AM all that I am sure I will be just fine.   All the little fragmented boxes I had put myself into over the years of seeking now have no sides or lids but I think I am smart enough to know what persona goes with which occasion much like wine parings.   I have, however, been known to drink white wine with red meat because I do not much care for reds but that is beside the point.  Spirituality is entwined in my entire life as I AM a spiritual being and I will continue to use what I have learned, as I stay on my path, to enjoy the hell out of this physical experience.

November, December, and January – ‘tis the season for frivolity – an excuse to eat, drink, be merry, and dress up.  I do think it is time for this spiritual being to go shopping for body baring black dresses and beautiful accessories.  Maybe I will get the latest Vogue or Glamour magazine.  I have no idea what the trends are nowadays and I will buck them as usual but I really don’t want to be too far behind the times.

Courtni  ~ The Soul Muse

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Second Generation

The bond formed around the unlikeliest of subjects: child molestation.

I had hit him one day, truly “out of the blue”, with information about my youthful sexual liaisons with our neighbor – a grandfather, and the father of my best friend.  The look on his face was inscrutable but I thought I detected anger, guilt, some helplessness maybe.  As a coup de grace I slapped him with – Oh….and he molested my little sister too.

That part was not mine to tell.  I just wanted to bring him to his knees, twisting the knife deeper. Let him know that his strict, even abusive, ways of attempting to protect me, to protect us, did not work.  We didn’t talk about it then.

Years later, before his death, when he was sick, we reconnected one last time with the remembered ease of the relationship we shared when I was a child – before boys, before hormones, before religion, before sex.

I was around 5, he said, when I was molested by a female relative.  I didn’t tell anyone because she told me not to and I liked it.

My heart went out to him then and, on the other end of the phone miles away, I slumped.  Understanding washed over me and my life and actions begun to make sense.   I felt myself shift to coach/healer mode, asking the appropriate questions, however my intent was not to heal him but to understand the man with whom I had had a complicated relationship for the larger part of my life.  Seeing him as a defenseless little boy who was inappropriately touched, and who was, like me, a prisoner to the confusing feelings of a too-early awakened sexuality, helped me understand his waywardness, his lack of respect for women, the empty feeling that surrounded him, and his inability to keep his pants zippered.

Our sharing that day also helped me to understand myself, the ever-present feelings of “something missing”, and my inability to keep my legs scissored.

We spoke tenderly, an hour of phone conversation reaching across the years dissolving time.   When I hung up I knew that if he died the next day it would have been okay.  There was nothing else I needed or wanted from him.  We had come full circle.   I felt complete.

Throughout my life, carrying his energy along with that of my own premature sexual awakening I attracted and was attracted to empty men like him; fragments trying to make a whole. If there was one bad boy in the crowd I made a beeline for him and him for me, his penis a divining rod picking up on my emptiness. The good guys were merely stepping stones to my goal of attempting to fill the hole (no pun intended).

Through 2 marriages the pattern persisted : Find the man who cannot commit, who thought I was there for his pleasure, who was married or in a relationship with someone else and who never gave much as he did not have much to give – except sex and sometimes not even good sex.  Find him, find him, find him. I did not have to look. With the energy I was broadcasting they found me easily.

I did not sit down to write this but the words tumbled out on their own accord, writing themselves, surprising me, healing me.  For the first time in my life, I have named and acknowledged my own feelings of emptiness – my driving need to be filled by another, a feeling of incompleteness.

I feel very thankful for my life through him and with him and I now acknowledge all of him that I have been and am. I am grateful to him for sharing that part of his life with me. It was years before the full significance of our conversation became clear. Years before I realized that in my cells and consciousness I was carrying the energy of not only my own childhood abuse but also his.

In ceremony today, with sage, sweet grass, and cedar, I symbolically returned to him all that was not mine,  and all that had never been mine. I then called back to myself parts of me that had been forcibly taken away, given away, or lost on my journey.

Today, in gratitude, peace, and love, I buried and fully released the sins of my father.

Courtni ~ The Soul Muse

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Non-resistance

Acceptance.  Allowing.  It goes by many names.  

Today I got a big assed piece of lasagna.  I mean really, really, really big.  I thought at first that my perpetual skinniness made the cafeteria lady sorry for me – that she wanted to fatten me up.   Not so.  She reminded me of a time I commented about paying $5.00 for 4 meatballs and a cookie.  Seriously!  Those were some expensive meatballs.  She said that she had mistakenly rang up something else that was written on the non-carbon form (probably something someone in front of me had ordered) and wanted to make things right.  So here I am now with lasagna for two – FREE lasagna for two.

I remember that day.  My favorite short order cook was in the kitchen.  He sings and hums over the food.  How could he not be my favorite?   I had ordered meatballs off-menu (patient food) which he served with a flourish and a smile.   After paying, I had gone back to him and said good-humoredly “$5.00 for 4 meatballs?  We’ll settle later.”

He was the one who later told the cafeteria lady that I had not gotten the other item she had charged me for.   I truly did not care.  He had always been good to me – sometimes adding avocado and other niceties to my protein burger.   I joked about the expensive food and forgot about it.  Non-resistant.

Sometimes I want to control things.  Ahem…most of the time…OK, OK – ALL THE TIME I want to control things.  This was a great lesson in just leaving things alone, just letting it be, letting go.   The reward of my non-resistance was equivalent to 2 free meals and I suspect that now the kitchen folk will try harder to fatten me up as I was so nice about it. 

I moved recently and there were things in the real estate/bank transaction that I resisted and was still in resistance about.   I had also been feeling some resistant energy towards my realtor/friend.  In bed this morning I even asked myself and whoever was listening “How can I just allow?  Why am I feeling this resistance?” 

Today the answer came in an unexpected way.  There doesn’t always have to be a ‘why’ or a ‘how to’.  I know that now.  Just Do It – (I hope I don’t get sued by the Swoosh).   I did not allow the meatball overcharge purely for the anticipated future rewards.  I did it because it felt good to let it go.   Resistance feels shitty.  Period. Once I got the lesson I replied to an email my realtor/friend had sent me over a week ago.

I felt and saw the energy of my resistance like a shield blocking ALL I desire – not just what I am in resistance about.   I have been feeling that block a lot lately, like I am anticipating something I am not quite ready for.  Like a child fighting sweet slumber, resisting is my way to keep the new at bay.   It will overtake me, I know,   and the transition will be chaotic if I stay in resistance.   So, today, I let go.

Enjoying the lasagna, I shudder to think what would have happened if I had bitched about the overcharge in the cafeteria.  I might have gotten special lasagna – made of mouse. 

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Wisdom’s Tree

(Read this AFTER reading Pare Down)

Today I had a strong urge to call my friend Geoff whom I had not heard from in over a year.   Ours is an unlikely friendship spanning nearly 10 years – a ZZ Top looking tattooed ex-drinking ex-drugging biker and a tall willowy Jamaican nurse.  I was an artist when I met him – Rock Artist, I called myself.  I needed some pointers, knowledge about sandblasting – knowledge he shared willingly, openly, without the thought of competition.  We even worked on a few large projects together using his mobile sandblasting equipment and tractor. It is an easy friendship, a bright sacred thread in my life’s tapestry.  Sometimes we would not hear from each other for months, years, and then a quick phone conversation would be enough to catch up – to reconnect.

“Do you have a man in your life yet or are you still waiting for me?”

That question, the perpetual dance in our friendship, made me laugh out loud.

“Of course I am still waiting for you,” I answered, giggling.

“Hey, I just wanted to make sure.”

Then without a drawing a breath, he said “It is good to hear your laughter.  I’ve missed you.”

My eyes filled with tears – tears of love, of joy, and of the memories over the years of our improbable friendship.  And I, the one who usually misses no one, replied “I miss you too,” and knew in my heart that it was true.

He talked about his life, his travels, his need to use a blanket at night where he was.  He talked about missing the Valley.  There, there was too much green, he said, he missed the shades of browns.  We talked about my life – looking for a home.  I described a house to him, a house I was “in like” with.  I talked about the courtyard, the backyard, my mind transported as I walked through it again.  I talked about its smallness.  He thinks all one needs is a bedroom and a fridge but we both agreed that really one needs a kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedroom. 

I did not tell him I was trying to decide between houses.  I did not tell him I had asked for unmistakable guidance.  But as our conversation mellowed he unknowingly dropped a seed of wisdom.  After saying that the Canadians were buying up homes “right and left” in the Valley, and that it took him a while to sell a rental he had as it was only 1200+ square feet, he said:

“But I don’t care about “the market”.  I don’t follow trends or get into the stories.  I live my life for me, doing what I want, what feels good for me.  If I can come home at the end of the day and smile when I walk through my door, then that makes me happy.  That is what it is all about.  That is enough.”

The seed he dropped caught in my throat, constricting it and bringing tears to my eyes.  I swallowed and it fell into my heart. 

“That is the most profound wisdom I have heard all day,” I said, my voice catching.

“I’m probably the only person you’ve spoken to all day,” he sounded pleased, flattered, surprised.

“Yes you are.”

We laughed and inside me the seed grew into a tree.  It would have taken a while to explain to him why his words were so appropriate and, since he could not see the tears that had welled up on the brink of spilling over, I saved the explanation for another time.

My tears fell for a while after we hung up.  They flowed freely – watering  Wisdom’s tree.

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Pare Down

A week ago I looked at a house.  I had transferred with my job to a new location in town, a location I had always loved.  Tired of the drive from my current home I begin looking for a place to buy.  The house I looked at was a bit small yet I felt at home there.  The intimate front courtyard greeted me like an old friend as the cool south facing porch beckoned me to sit, take some respite from the Arizona sun, bide awhile.  A stately museum Palo Verde graced the front yard in the east, providing dappled patterns of shadow and light on the ground – sol y sombra.  I quickly walked through the house to the backyard and was enveloped in deep shade of the porch that ran almost the entire length of the home – north and east.  An outdoor fireplace, a raised planter, open desert behind the home – it was as if I had created this yard myself.   I sighed deeply – a sigh not unlike the sighs that escape my lips whenever I looked at new homes and quickly scan through interiors to get to the prize – to the outdoors, to Nature.

I made me smile to picture myself on the front porch reading a book or drinking tea, my cat at my feet – or chasing lizards in the courtyard.   At nearly 15 she never catches them now.  I felt me in the back yard on a cool fall night sitting, a throw over my shoulder, mesmerized by the flames in the fireplace.  Home.

 “Care to share? What are your thoughts? ” my realtor/friend asked. 

I had no thoughts, I could only feel.   A bit annoyed at his intrusion on my daydream, I stated “I don’t care to share.” 

I then smiled at him, as if to say “It is not about you,”– a running joke we have between us – and forgave his intrusion.   I took a second, longer look inside the home.  It was too small.  What about resale?  What about my “stuff”?  Am I buying right for the market?  Do I like this place just for the zip code?

“Pare Down.”  I heard the words in my head then, not as a formed thought but more like a gentle command. I have friends who regularly “hear” things but this is only the second time in my adult life that I have heard words between the thoughts – words not my own.   After the first instance of hearing those words, everywhere I looked in the home thinking that it was too small and that my things will not fit, I heard “pare down.”  Hearing the words repeatedly did not get annoying.  It was as if they were now a part of me, a mantra, a prayer.

But stubbornly, in my mind, I appealed to my guides, my dispensers of wisdom: “Give me a sign.  Make it so that there is no mistake that it came from you.  Help me KNOW the correct decision to make about the houses I have seen, and specifically about this house.” 

As I drove away from the house I saw a rainbow to the east.   They weren’t getting off that easily.

The next day I looked at yet another house.  The layout was better, the rooms bigger, and the price less.  Yet it did not feel like home.  The yard was nice but I could not see or feel myself there.  After a perfunctory look around, my heart not in it, I glanced again at the kitchen.  There, above the stove, was a wall hanging I had not seen earlier.  It read “Here is Your Sign.”  My laughter exploded in the house competing with the TV that the owner had left on.  

I had to explain my realtor/friend why I was laughing.  But was it a sign to buy this house or the other one?  He wondered aloud.  I was confused until I remembered how I had felt the day before at the other house.

“Pare Down.”  I knew what the words meant.  I also knew who transmitted them.  I knew that paring down was the only way to comfortably live in that home.  I also knew, beyond the obvious, that buying that house, in that location at that time would be the beginning of a new life. 

“Pare Down” – get rid of the dross, the flack, the stuff that makes you heavy, that weighs you down – people, beliefs, things. 

“Pare Down” – lighten up, change, reinvent yourself. 

Yesterday I cut my hair.  It’s a start.   

Today I had a strong urge to call my friend Geoff whom I had not heard from in over a year.  So I did.

Courtni ~ The Soul Muse

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Drank in my cup

Me: Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been months since my last blog.
G: My child, your penance is 2 Hail Mary’s
Me: But Father, I am not Catholic
G: My child, the Hail Mary is a drink.
Me: Ah Father…you know me so well

Hail (Bloody) Mary
• 2 oz Vodka
• 6 oz Tomato Juice
• 2 to 3 Drops Hot Sauce
• 1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
• Dash of Pepper
• Ice
• Glass

Courtni ~ The Soul Muse

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