Slipping Through the Open Gate….or Taking Off the Harness and Living the Untamed Life

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Now y’all haven’t heard me talk about our little Bella much.  She is the “wild girl” in our little pack here.  I often let y’all in on Friz’s life and how much he tends to be like me in nature and all the warm fuzzy stuff that he does.  Well….truth be told, Bella is more like that part of me that not everyone gets to see.  She lives life for Bella and Bella alone.  If she wants it, she takes it.  If she wants out, she goes.  If you are in the place she wants to be….you move.  If Bella is a reincarnation of anyone from history, it would have been one of the Egyptian queens or one of those strong women that made history by being just a little naughty.

I love Bella to death…but she can be challenging at times.  She has to be watched like a hawk.  She is the dog that will eat something just because she wanted to know what it tastes like…whether it was edible or not.  Bella takes life by storm and lives every moment like a bat out of hell. 

All of this being said….we have to section the house off with baby gates.  It keeps Bella safe from Bella.  She is on a restricted diet, but one of her guilty pleasures is waiting for my partner to absent-mindedly leave the gate that has access to the cat food open.  So many times I have caught Bella slowly sneaking toward the opening and closer to the cat food…her mouth open in the anticipation of getting a tasty little forbidden morsel.  When she hears “Bella, NO!!” escape your lips, she looks up at you defiantly and in a huff she tromps away.  Bella is determined that it is not she who has been domesticated in this household….and that we are but her minions.  How dare we put restrictions on her life and tell her what she can and cannot do.Photo Oct 13, 6 23 03 PM (1)

So, with all that being said,  I decided to take Bella on an excursion this morning.  We went to the pond.  I put on her little pink fleece jacket….it was bitter cold out and the little lady does like her comfort.  Before I could even get her harness on, she bolted out the door at full force and then on out the gate.  Thankfully it was early, so there was no danger of cars pulling in and out.  As I went outside of the gate calling her name, I looked down to the side and there she sat, wagging her stubby little butt, staring up at me as if to ask, “What took you so long.”  Hmmmmm, this one is too smart for her own good.

I suited her up in her harness and we walked toward the pond.  Her ears were swaying back and forth as she did her little bounce walk.  You could see it in the way she walked…she was going on an adventure….with or without me.  When we got to the pond, I sat down under my friend Oak and started to relax into my routine.  Well, with Bella, there is no routine.  She goes at full tilt.  She wanted to be up and moving.  I decided to try a little experiment (I would not suggest doing this if you don’t know your dog beyond knowing.  I know, for a fact, that Bella will never go too far from me.  She may run, she may dart…but she will stop at a certain point.  This has been proven at the dog park.  She won’t let me get beyond a certain earshot or line of vision.)  I took the leash off of Bella’s harness.  She danced, she leapt, she ran in circles….and she explored.  She sniffed everything.  Every few minutes, she would check back in with me or bring me some odd thing that she had unearthed or pulled out of a patch of weeds.  I had to laugh as I watched this wild child at play.  Hurricane Bella was a force to be reckoned with. 

It made me think….how many times do I sit around and wait for somebody to leave the gate open, or for that matter, take off the harness of day-to-day issues before I run around free of cares and all that burdens me.  I didn’t realize it until this morning, but food was a harness that was holding me back.  It wasn’t until I began my healthier lifestyle choices and watched the fat come off that I started feeling more energetic…that I was able to dance under the moon and not get winded.  I watched that little weiner dog do everything she could on impulse this morning.  I had to admit to myself that my life is too planned.  I can give you a schedule for everything I do….including rituals and playtime. 

I can see the gate opened….right there at the edge of my pasture.  I feel that it is time for me to make a run for it.  I know that right outside of it lies spontaneity and freedom.  It has seemed lately that my brain has felt way too cloudy.  Work hasn’t been hard or stressful for me…it has just been way too busy.  Homelife hasn’t been tense or out of control…it has just been too busy.  I have got to spend more time outside of that gate…unharnessed and ready to laugh and play and just be joyful.  I have all the elements around me that allow for that.  I have a wonderful partner….really great friends….incredible animals who encourage me every day to tap into that part of me that is just as wild as they can be. 

We tend to forget that life today can keep us scheduled to death.  Always doing something that is required of us.  Sometimes we just have to do something because we want to….just because it was birthed into us at the beginning of the age.

That gate is open.  You better run…..NOW!!

Blessed Be!

Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This

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The past couple of weeks has been a whirlwind for me.  I have been in the process of preparing for a charity show that I was performing in.  Everything else in my life took a backseat.  I mean everything.  I sang my way through life oblivious to everything else around me.  I was immersed in only this….obsessed with making sure all was done to the best of my ability.  I haven’t felt that type of energy since my days in the theater.  I look back, and honestly the past couple of weeks are a blur in my memory.  The only things that come to the front of my mind are the dreams I have had in that two week period.

I have always had vivid dreams….I dream in color and, most of the time, what I am dealing with in life manifests itself in my dreams.  My dreams of late have been unique, to say the least.  The most prominent dreams of the past couple of weeks involve me lost in the woods.  I am accompanied always by wolf and some bird, whether it be owl, or crow, or hawk.  In the dream, I end up at an earth covered, green cottage by water.  It has one door and one window.  Inside is everything that I could ever think of needing for potions and spells and all manner of sorcery.  Wolf watches me mindfully by the fire and the bird of the night perches on a chair or the table that I work on.  As I work on the magick in front of me, there is no question about what ingredient or word comes next.  I am going about everything I do with a fervor and a purpose.

In this dream, I see all manner of energy floating around me.  It seems to be there for the taking.  All I have to do is reach out.  Different colors represent different energies and I know which color is what.  Blue is for healing, green for growth, red for passion, yellow for happiness, orange for courage, and purple for knowledge…..I walk through the room trying to grasp some of each color of energy only for it to swirl out of reach.  Out of the corner of my eye, I see Wolf.  The energy is coming to him. Each color encircles his head and he closes his eyes and inhales…..each one wisps into his nostrils and I watch as his eyes light up with the power of each color.  I look to the chair or table and notice that the same thing is happening with the bird.  I am working so hard and can’t even catch a smidgeon of the energy…..they do nothing, it seems, and it comes to them.  I sit down in a rocking chair beside the fireplace.  I am completely exhausted.  Wolf sits beside me and puts his head on my knee.  The bird sits on the chair top beside my head.  We all go to sleep.  I can feel the energy swirling in circles around me.  As I breathe deeply, I can feel each color of energy being inhaled.  I can feel them taking root inside.  I decide that I want to stay in this dwelling.  Everything I need as far as Magick is right there.  I get up and begin potion-making again….Wolf settles again in front of the fire and the bird flies toward the table…I wake up.

I realized looking back at this dream today, that it was mirroring everything that I have been dealing with over the past couple of weeks.  The bustle of life was evident….as was the premise of me “chasing my tail.”  It seems that over and over again this week that the thought of “animals having great empathic abilities” has bombarded me.  I have noticed that as my activity has gotten more fervent, that the animals in the house have become more anxious.  There have been no trips to the pond or the woods this week for me and Friz…only short trips outside to pee so that I could rush back into whatever was consuming me.  He stood at my feet begging me to sit down for just a moment….long enough for him to lie down on my lap and doze off.  It didn’t happen.

I have all this energy now that I don’t know what to do with.  The weight loss and change in habits have caused me to become fidgety with energy….not completely sure how to handle it.  I am feeling a call to meditation.  I need to slow down.  I need simplicity.  I need to find that dwelling place where I feel completely at ease.  I know where everything is, the right words, and I know what ingredients it takes….but I have forgotten the most important thing….the intent.  My intent is to be one with Lord and Lady….to take time and spend time in nature.  Last year at this time I gave a friend of mine some advice that I need to heed.  I told her to “put her hands in the dirt,”  to feel the earth energy, the grounding.  I have forgotten that I need grounding every day.  Animal energy is that of grounding….earth energy.  Wolf is a pathfinder and a teacher in many native traditions.  Wolf also teaches balance.  The crow is the “keeper of secrets or mysteries.” He brings transformation of the inner self. Hawk brings illumination of the past, present, and future. Owl brings vision of the situations at hand.

Even when I was too “busy” to see any of this while wide awake.  Goddess knew I needed to hear this message.  She sent messengers that she knew I would listen to and put me in surroundings where I would be open to hearing what she said.

Tonight before I wrote this, Friz and I went to the pond….we sat for a bit.  We also went to the woods.  We sat again.  I am learning slowly and surely that I am not a human doing….I am a human being.  Sometimes all that is required is to be.  The phrase is not “Blessed Do.”  It is in fact, “Blessed Be.”

If we could only take a lesson from our animal friends and familiars.  They live in the moment….not what is happening tomorrow….not what happened yesterday.  They envelop the energy around them as it happens….they don’t try to “catch it.”

My promise to myself this holiday season is simple:  Simplicity,  Live in the moment, and just Be.

Blessed Be!380798_10151538882172656_1102113718_n

The Last To See….

Last night I watched an episode of “Once Upon A Time.”  This episode featured Ruby (Red Riding Hood) and the way she dealt with the fact that she turned into a wolf on the full moon.  She was more afraid of herself and the change that took place in her than anything else.  She was searching for anything that would help her to understand herself and what was going on.  The peculiar thing was that her friends could see her true self even in the midst of the transformation.  Some of the lines that stuck out in my mind are in  a conversation between Snow White and Red:

“My Mother wanted me to choose between being a wolf and being human. Granny did too. You are the only person who ever thought it was okay for me to be both.” – Ruby
“Cause that’s who you are.” – Snow White

Even Ruby could not accept who and what she was.  Somewhere in the midst of the change, she got lost in all the fur.  How many times do we do the same.  We anticipate this huge transformation in our lives and are disappointed when it is not the way we planned or foresaw it.

As you know, for the past couple of months, I have been in the midst of a “lifestyle” change.  I have been incredibly good.  I have planned out my splurges and done everything that the doctor has told me to do….but the problem is, when I look in the mirror, all I see are the bulges and dimples and creases and blobs of fat that are there.  Of course, everyone around me tells me that I look so good…it is so evident to them that I have lost weight.  One girl at work even told me that I looked ‘deflated.’  I, however, keep seeing the same me in the mirror.  I see the big, fat blob of a person staring back at me……until this morning. 

I looked into the mirror and staring back at me was a thinning face.  It was markedly thinner than I am sure it was the day before.  I could see my eyes shining out at myself….not the pushed together slits staring out from the doughy fat cheeks that they once did.  I could finally see what I had been working so hard for coming to fruition.   Even though the scales registered the transformation weekly….I had been oblivious to it…until I was ready to see it.  Sometimes we are our own worst enemy.

I am reminded of a dear sweet young witch.  When I first got to know her, I remember her inquisitiveness, her uncertainty.  She was looking for guidance and second guessing herself a lot.  Though many of us around her could see all the possibilities and potential in her…I don’t believe she saw it.  I could see her in my mind’s eye standing out in the yard doing weather witching almost shaking from trying to get the energy to work. Frustrated, she would tell us of how she had tried and failed…..we, on the other hand, watched her trying and trying and then becoming.  This young witch became one of the most powerful hedge-, garden-, hearth-, solitary- witches I know.  While she saw failed attempts or questioned her motives and abilities, we saw the transformation into what she had in her all along.  She was stepping back and the Magick was allowed to step forward and take over.  She was becoming more and more like the Goddess because that was who she was spending time with.

I paid a visit to the pond today in the afternoon rain.  I have been begging for the cold weather to set in.  It was coolish, but still not as cold as I would like.  The blue chihuahua curled up on me as though he was freezing….as did the herd of cats led by black and white cat.  As I stared toward the water, I imagined all the things that had happened around it to make the pond what it is today.  I imagined the impatience of the Lady of the Lake as she waited for her home to take shape…the searching that mama crow did before settling on the telephone pole across the way to nest.  Everything needed to make it what it was to be was right there the whole time…..it was just waiting for it to take shape and then to recognize it.

I look at my own impatience….especially in matters of magick.  Everything needed to make the magick is right there.  It is just waiting on me to put the pieces together.  Once everything is in place….the magick flows and flows superbly!  It may not happen the way I think it should or manifest itself the way I think it should look, but it is there.  In no way was the voyage anything that I had expected…but the outcome was magickal.

What are you looking for?  As the new year begins, what is in you that needs to be recognized and nurtured?  Do you see a gift that is uniquely you… as a curse?  Another line comes to mind from “Once Upon A Time.”  It was when Belle was talking to Ruby:

“There’s good in there. If we can all see it, why can’t you?” – Belle

Blessed Be!

A Little Burnt Biscuit…

Let me just tell yáll. I was raised in North Carolina in the country. One of the things I remember most are those great big ole cat-head biscuits my grandma used to make. They were so good….slathered in butter with maybe a piece of ham or sausage tucked inside or just a little bit of scuppernong jam.

My childhood was jam-packed full of good old country cooking. All of my best and worst memories were always surrounded by this type of food. Weddings, funerals, birthdays, school accomplishments….all were centered around great big old spreads of fried chicken, banana pudding, hoe cakes, fat back, pinto beans and potatoes by the bucket. Everything was coated in cream or gravy or mayonnaise or a fried crust and was absolutely heaven on a plate.

Is it any wonder that when I am stressed or angry or sad or hell, even happy that these are the foods I have always turned to? Living away from family, I had to bring out the memories of the way granny used to make her biscuits. There weren’t any cups or measuring spoons in her kitchen. Everything was measured right there in the palm of her hand. Trust me, figuring out those measurements was something else too. She wasn’t real crazy about having anybody else in her kitchen…especially looking over her shoulder, so it was essentially a glean what you could as you could scenario.

Now, it’s funny that all these memories of food are coming to me now…..a week and a half after a fearful doctor’s visit where I thought I was having a heart attack. I was on my way to work and I could feel that elephant on my chest type feeling. I drove myself on in to my doctor’s office….don’t ask me why the hospital wasn’t my first thought. Well, it turned out to be hypertension…which I don’t take lightly. I had put myself into a full blown panic attack which resulted in the heart attack-like symptoms. The result of all this was having to give up all that which was sacred to me. No more fried foods, no more gravies, no more deep, rich black coffee, no more salt….having to totally retrain my taste buds.

The big thing for me was alleviating my stress. When the doctor told me that, I rolled my eyes with a “yeah right” type of attitude. He told that he was very serious and that I was going to have to become an expert at letting things go. Not all that easy for a Leo that is a very very strong fire personality. The hardest thing about all of this was the fact that food is what alleviates my stress. As I said earlier, I eat when any emotion raises its head…..it brings back happy memories.

Well, I have done really well with the diet part of all this. I did a little motivation spell when it all started, so that has helped quite a bit. The stress part has been a little more, shall we say…challenging. Of course, anything and everything that I would react to is going to happen when I am cutting out caffeine and refined sugars. Hell, that alone is like going through detox. Anything anyone said to me was like nails on a chalkboard….grating through to every nerve ending in my body. Anything that could go wrong at work has gone wrong. I have to say that, honestly, I failed most of those “don’t let it stress you” tests.

Now, I haven’t talked about my mama much, but my mama is a sweet little round woman with cotton candy hair and a smile that just makes you feel good all over. She is one of those women who hug you with their whole body. She is also full of spit and vinegar. She doesn’t take crap from anyone. The one thing that I have noticed…..even set back and pondered…is the fact that I have honestly never seen her stressed about anything. When money was tight, we just had a few more eggs that the chickens laid or potatoes from the garden. When something broke, we did without it until a new one could be bought. When she and pop fought, she was always the first one to say, “I’m sorry.” I never saw her and pop go to bed mad at each other.

I finally talked to mama last night about what was going on healthwise, and she just very matter-of-factly said, “Well, now I guess you just have to do it. No turning back, just eat what you have to and you got to stop letting things get to you. You just have to ask yourself if it’s really going to make any difference in a hundred years. Now my guess is, in a hundred years, you are going to be really old or really dead….so it really won’t matter.” Alot of wisdom comes out of that little lady.

So today, I get an email from my mama. It was the following story:

When I was a little boy, my mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed!

Yet all my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that biscuit and eat every bite!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I’ll never forget what he said: “Baby, I love burned biscuits.”

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned.. He wrapped me in his arms and said, “Your Momma put in a hard day at work today and she’s real tired.. And besides – a little burnt biscuit never hurt anyone!”

It slapped me across the face a little bit. I had to realize that there are things that are important and things that really don’t matter one bit. Is it really worth getting stressed out because I am standing in the midst of a rainstorm and the dog won’t pee? No. I should relish the cleansing that the rainstorm is bringing. Is it worth getting bent out of shape about something at work that can be fixed in ten minutes time? No. I should just fix it or show the person who made the issue how to. It is a lesson learned. Is it worth getting pissed at my partner for not scooping the cat litter? Again, no. I should just go ahead and scoop it and be thankful for the hundred other things he does in the course of a week.

Isn’t it funny? My mama used food to teach me a lesson. Only she would be able to do that and still keep me on my diet. Is it any wonder I love her so much…..that beautiful little round woman with cotton candy hair and a smile that just makes you feel good all over. Even across the miles she sent me one of those hugs with just enough vinegar in it to sting a little but not burn.

Blessed Be!