At Last, A Winter’s Day

How wonderfully Magickal!!! Gone is the Autumn landscape that covered the land with an unseasonably tattered quilt for January. Made from cast off patches of fabric that had been carelessly strewn on Summer’s remnant table where the faded greens of persistent lawns mingled with bolts of the mottled tans of dried, spent, stems and flowers. Leaves, well past their vivid shades of glory all lay about like bronze appliques, stitched with a random, carefree hand.

Beneath the streetlight, a steady falling snow glistens on its mission to cover everything with a brand new cloak of white.  The trees receive a heavy toss of flocking, covering their black silhouettes so that they no longer stand out like the underdressed girls at the party.  Before the plows arrive and shovels meet pavement, there is nothing to define the  selvages.  The light of day will make alterations and ribbons of road and sidewalk will weave their way through the neighborhood, breaking up the continuous flow of glittering white puffs of tulle with loosely tied dark belts.

This was my wish, wasn’t it? A well woven spell, cast last weekend as I gazed out the window at the sturdy wardrobe of Fall that Mother Nature was hesitant to cast aside. A waxing Moon, and all Her power to attract, most often results in manifested desires by the time the Full Moon rises. And so, before the Wolf Moon of January hits Her stride, it has come.

The wind gusts with a zealous protest, causing the gentle earthbound tendrils to swirl ferociously. When it all settles and the landscape surrenders, some people, wrapped in their thick woolen cocoons, will cringe at the sight of it. Others will abandon their hearth fires with glee, not to return until the desire for warmth and dry clothes entices them back inside. The children who are not Nature deficient and deprived will put down their electronic gadgets and will pick up their sleds and snowboards. Receiving the minimum daily requirement of fresh air and Nature, they will have the health and wellbeing and a clear, open mind that only a dose of both can deliver. Those not so wise and fortunate will continue to take refuge in their rank, stagnant burrows and lag behind mentally and emotionally, void of creativity.

My cross-country skis have been prepared for months with a still serviceable coat of wax, eager to provide just the right amount of glide, poles and boots at the ready. There will be Bird feeders to fill and walkways to clear. Today’s dinner menu boasts a prime rib roast that my husband will prepare and watch over, ensuring that it will be perfect. I’m in charge of side dishes, and when a flavorful a jus is not created, I am known around here as, “The Gravy Queen”. An expected phone call from the dearest of friends is on the docket for this afternoon, and there is also a pile of books due back at the library tomorrow that will have me utilizing the speed reading skills I acquired in high school.

This will be a day well spent, made even more glorious by the snowy view out my window, seen with a Cat or two curled up nose to tail in my lap. Consider this post the entry in my gratitude journal, to include those whose eyes will read these words, and whose minds will bring them close to me as we share in this experience. Thank you and Bright Blessings.

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Mac, Hmandu, And Ridley Too

After the hissing subsided and Hmandu figured out that he was not being replaced, he decided that, “the kid is ok”. Just as we had hoped, Mac and Hmandu are best buds.

We decided to get a Kitten for our Kitten when our two older Cats insisted that something had to be done. Also known as ‘the ‘ladies who nap’, seventeen year old Rhiannon and fifteen year old Astarte are no longer amused by getting chased, swatted at or being put in a random headlock by an adolescent male Cat with a testosterone problem. There was much growling, hissing and ear flattening, not to mention that the ladies’ stress level was at the point that I was going to ask the vet for Xanax…for them and for me.

Mac’s arrival was greatly anticipated and did not fail to live up to our expectations of producing a high level of fun. Exploring the house, playing with a large assortment of toys and the joy of discovering the never empty food dishes had him bouncing around like a furry super ball. Hmandu watched all of this with a mixture displeasure and caution that, when thrown to the wind, would result in a Gorilla Glue kind of bond.

Mac had no reservations what so ever. He was used to being accepted solely on his masterful skill of being adorable. Encountering not only one, but three ‘tough sells’ was a totally new experience for him. The ladies made attempts at filling a tandem mothering role of keeping him in line and spit taming any tufts of unruly fur as most mothers do. Hmandu soon dispensed with his posturing and allowed his inner frat boy free reign. That was when the real fun began and I had to make peace with having a few cherished possessions smashed beyond repair. Boys will, indeed, be boys. Everything was just as we had anticipated and expected. What we didn’t plan on was Ridley.

I had actually wanted a polydactyl. We would have had one when we began the adoption process for Mac if we had not lost Millie to pneumonia. Lauren, who runs Underdog Rescue, and I tearfully dealt with her loss. It was unexpected, painful and fast. One day we were making plans to pick her up and the next, things were delayed due to Millie having pneumonia and then the phone call to say that the measures that were taken to save her had failed. However, when Lauren sent me a picture of a male poly, who was considerably older than the ‘Kitten’ we were looking for, we decided to take Ridley too. After all, how could I say, “he’s too old and not the right color.” We wanted a very young black Kitten, but orange and white six year old Ridley needed a home.

He had to get neutered and had a few dental issues and excessive ear wax, but after seeing the rescue’s vet for all of those things, he was ready to come home. I, again, had an image of everyone settling in without mishap. Introducing an adult male Cat into a household that already had one, was not going to be without issues I know, but I wanted so desperately for Ridley to be happy. He had been through a lot between coming from a distant humane society and a foster home and I was eager to assure him that he had found his ‘forever home’.

For the first two days Ridley hid under the bed in the guest room and any amount of coaxing him out resulted in his being bullied by Hmandu. This really upset me. I can’t handle seeing any animal cower in fear and it broke my heart. By the third day, he came out and sprawled on the sofa demanding, “what’s for dinner?”.  Hmandu found himself on the receiving end of a number of well placed swats and, even though they still have that macho dominance thing from time to time, there is peace in the valley.

In the midst of the chaos and frenetic energy that bounces off the walls most days, we celebrate what has become life in this house of joy. My husband and I agree that a house is only a home to us when it is shared with multiple felines. When we had lost four of the six we had, some for twenty something years, there was a void. The pain of grieving runs deep and sometimes, you just don’t feel that you can go through it again so you think, ‘no more’. Having animal companions, except when you adopt those who will outlive you, comes with a knowing that at some point they will leave you. However, the attempt to protect your heart from pain by denying that which brings you joy is no way to live.

So, we are owned by five Cats and for the most part, they keep us in line, spit tame any stubborn tufts of ‘fur’ on us and each other, and allow us to spoil them rotten. We laugh and smile a lot and pretty much fashion our lives around their needs. Rhiannon was recently diagnosed with diabetes so she needs injections twice a day, but considering that a month ago she was badly dehydrated and near death due to a bladder infection, it’s what we have to do to keep her healthy and alive. We nursed her back with IV fluids and antibiotics and celebrated every bit of food or water she’d take in. Now, at seventeen years old, she looks great and is thriving.

When you open your home to animals it requires that you also open your heart. Then the love flows in and out. Somehow, we always find room for one more.

Crash And Burn

Whoever tried to make us think that the road to reaching a  goal is a nice, straight ribbon stretched out from ‘you are here’ to the finish line should be tied to a railroad track with the tangled, tattered remaining shreds of that ribbon. As the speeding  Orange Blossom Special is bearing down on them, you get to stand beside them, shouting every motivational quote that you’ve ever heard, getting up in their faces and yelling, “Come on, you can do it, you’ve got what it takes”. I’ll let you decide how this will end depending on how you feel about having been lied to all this time as you’ve attempted to follow that stretch of highway with its hairpin turns, obstacles and the places where the road just drops off the map.

Excuse me while I untie myself from the tracks. Yes, I get to escape because at the last minute I saw the light. It was accompanied by a screaming whistle and a chuga-chuga noise. I will never again be that cheerleading, smug self-righteous bitch telling people how easy it is to succeed if they just make up their minds to do it.  So, as I pick myself up from where I had lain in a heap at the bottom of the crevasse I stepped off into, the last of the smoldering cinders being stomped out as some grumpy ass bear in a ranger’s hat watches me do it, I begin to claw my way back up to the road. That winding, twisting, gully washed, rocky, pot holed road.

I have no idea what the hell happened. One day I was plugging away, vision board in full view, Magick rock in my pocket and offering my cheery rah-rah’s to every pain stricken face I encountered that needed my helpful encouragement. I feel so compelled to do this, that I can say without the least bit of reservation, that motivating people on this journey called life is my dream. Having been totally convinced by the people in my life, that being an underachiever was what I was destined to be, I had resigned myself to that. Then, one fateful night I saw the infomercial that would change everything. Yeah, you know it…Tony Robbins.

I ordered the tapes…yes cassette tapes, which I listed to all the time. I did the exercises and began to live life with intention and purpose and for the first time began to see myself differently. Taking a management job that I originally turned down because I didn’t think I could do it, I began to set goals and surpass them. Over time, I studied the works of other motivators and never stopped. Not only did I benefit, but I began to share what I learned from them and my own experience. Even now, as I write this, if I can inspire even one person to reach beyond their self-imposed limitations to live their dreams, I will be ecstatic! I want to excite people, fire them up and encourage them to take those risks and push through their doubts and fears because I did and it changed my entire life.

However, I never want to mislead anyone. It is not easy and it is not just a matter of mind over matter because that matter is ingrained. Habits and patterns become a part of you, the way you think and the way you respond and the way you behave. Yes, you can change that, but it takes work and perseverance and the diligence to discover how you will change it as an individual because this is not a ‘one size fits all’ kind of thing.  The things that trigger you to repeat patterns that self-sabotage your efforts are unique to you and it’s a long, hard process of excavating the dark recesses of your mind and examining what you find. To tell you otherwise would be to outright lie to you and I make a piss-poor liar which is why I won’t even play poker.

Just as you can be driven to succeed by your own power to do so, you can also be driven to self-destruct. I would love to be able to tell you why this happens and how you can fix it, but that too, will be unique to you. I can only find the answer to that for myself right now. Making a  change is inevitable, I know. Otherwise, I will only sink lower and making the required come back and save from this will be harder as old patterns and habits reestablish themselves as part of my life to the point that they become all that I know.

So, I will give myself the same advice I would give to anyone in this situation. Become the Fool. The Fool is the first card in many Tarot decks and just happens to be the one that I drew when I sought the answer to how to come back from this temporary fall from my own personal self-saving grace. The Fool excitedly begins his journey with his pack on a stick slung over his shoulder. He has no expectations except to move forward. He is on a high precipice and puts his foot forward, seemingly void of caution, because if he hesitated for too long or thought too hard about what might lie ahead he might change his mind and never take the first step.

The Tarot is all about the Fool’s journey. The jubilant and the desperate. It is not just a matter of one foot in front of the other on a seamless path to a joyous conclusion. I fell off the path and you will too.  What you choose to do when that happens will be up to you and you alone and should never be influenced by anyone else. Not even some aspiring motivator like me telling you how easy it is if you just make up your mind to do it. It shouldn’t be easy because if it was, the next time there is a possibility of falling  again, you would do less to prevent it.

Learn all you can from a fall and experience it fully. Allow it to hurt and drag you down until you hit the jagged rocky bottom because when you get up, dust yourself off and begin your ascent you will want to be even more determined to keep climbing and moving forward. You will need to. And if you slip back a step or five, you will have a point of reference that will keep you from falling all the way back down because the experience will be so painful that you will do all that you can to avoid it. If you get tired and you need to stop for a while, find a safe foothold and stay there until you have taken the time to look ahead and determine what the next step will be even if it’s just to the next ledge instead of the top.  If you try to bolt too fast and too far, your expectations may set you up to fall all the way back to the bottom.

Just as you can underestimate yourself you can overestimate yourself. You may have never heard that from a motivator before…it’s called the truth. And from here on out, that is all you will ever get from  me. It may not be shiny and rainbow bright all the time, but it will help you get to where you desire to go.

Today is a new day. Every moment is a new opportunity to discover what works and abandon what doesn’t. That’s how the lofty tower of success is built. If the foundation is not firm and the structure erected without forethought and consideration taken to anticipate what might go wrong, the whole damn thing has the propensity to topple over or implode completely until it’s a pile of burning rubble.  The best way to assure that it will happen is to deny the possibility that it can.  And that’s the truth.

 

 

 

 

A Bird Of A Very Different Feather

Most days I try to ‘map’ some expectations and include something so incredible and unusual that I will know when it occurs that it is confirmation of my ability to manifest via my connection to ‘The Universe’. This frequently involves being attuned with Nature and working with my guides who serve as omens. Yesterday, however, I decided to simply allow things to unfold and see what would happen. This seemed like the obvious choice to make since circumstances warranted that the plans I had made the previous night needed to be altered. I didn’t get out to my garden at all as I had expected. I had planned to spend most of the day out there cleaning things up in preparation for Spring, when I plant like a mad woman so that when it’s all done, all that is left to do is a bit of maintenance and relaxing in it’s beauty.

After doing some running to look at a new combination smoker and grill that my husband would like and another trip to the grocery store for steaks, it was well after 2PM and my energy was lagging. I figured that after dinner I’d just get my bird feeders filled and sit in the yard allowing the Earth to envelope me in Her nurturing embrace as I listened to the fountain splash. Wild Violets, my favorite flower, are scattered throughout the lawn wherever the Great Mother had tossed them and never fail to make me smile.

I came around to the front yard and headed toward my griffon bench for a front row seat, as the chorus of bird song was just warming up. There, on the ground beneath my feeder pole, laid a male Red Winged Blackbird. Whatever occurred had just happened prior to my arrival because he had not been there on my first pass through. I bent down and scooped him up in my hands and he began to show signs of fear, but was too disoriented to do anything but accept my interference.

Gently probing his feathers, I didn’t detect any obvious wound from a bird of prey, but he was too far away from my window for me to assume that he had hit the glass. I held him, speaking softly to him while stroking his soft little head and he began to relax. His eyes became less glazed and he started to make a move to escape. At one point he took advantage of my loosened grip and jumped to the ground. He seemed unable to take flight and hopped the length of the side of the house until he entered the back yard. Anyone who doubts a bird’s ability to outrun them should try chasing one.

He reached the rock wall where he came to a stand still. There was no way that I was just going to leave him to his own devices since in this state, he was a ‘sitting duck’. I picked him up again and returned to the bench with him. My husband came outside so the two of us began to play doctor, offering him water, which he drank one drop at a time off the tip of my finger, and simply letting him rest in my cupped hands. He’d open his eyes and make a break for it again, but still was not able to take flight.

Finally, it was time to go inside, so we exchanged ideas as to what to do with him overnight. With three very inquisitive Cats in residency, it was obvious that creating a make shift hospital indoors was not a wise option. I put a cushion at the bottom of a garden carry-all and found a ‘cage’ fashioned from hardware cloth. It was carefully placed over him so he was confined to a smaller, but airy space. A small dish of seeds was placed inside with him and another garden pillow served as a lid for the cage and the device was carried through the house and placed on the deck off the upper level so he would be high enough to protect him from predators.

I proceeded to do some things around the house while my husband gave me updates. “He’s ok. Just sitting there peering into the patio door wondering how he can get the hell out of there”. With darkness falling, there was not much else to be done until morning.

So, it’s a bit past 5AM and still dark so I am anxiously awaiting some daylight so that I can see if he’s ready to be launched back into life as he knew it before whatever it was had altered it. Come to think of it, my life was altered too. As I sat there attempting to provide what he needed, an overwhelming sense of having to nurture flooded my senses. How appropriate for Mother’s Day weekend. My daughter and her husband have to attend a birthday party for a ‘godchild’, so I will be spending Mother’s Day sans child. My own 93 year old mother is going out to dinner with one of my brothers and since we were not asked to join them, I really would feel like an intrusion if we made the hour and a half trip to ‘visit’. Having my husband take me out for dinner seems a bit odd because, as he has pointed out in the past, I am not his mother.

Getting out in the yard to do yesterday’s gardening will be a fine way to celebrate. After all, what a better way to spend the day than to be in the presence of the greatest Mother of all, in service to Her by having a ‘day of beauty’ in the spa… plucking weeds, and adding some color and polish.

Ah, I see the light of day has made things out the window visible and recognizable. A Grackle is already having breakfast, probing the peanut feeder for a nut to fly off with. A funny spin on the end bit of that line takes over my brain in the form of mounting the broom with a fellow crazy Sister Witch. The goofy shit my mind takes and twists just enough to leave puzzled faces in the wake of my sudden impulse to share them scares me. The closer I get to being 60, the more bazaar those things become. Oh well, I’ve been politely described as “eccentric” all of my life so the stiletto granny boot fits. And yes, I wear them, adhering to my sentiment, “if the shoe fits”, as in comfortable, “it’s ugly”.

Well, time to check on the patient. I guess I’ve been stalling because as eager as I am, there is that twinge of fear that I will find that he has joined the friendly skies on the other side. In the words of Wayne Dyer, “Excuses Be Gone”.