Ratatouille

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Image by Sergei Belozerov from Pixabay

Whether it be a delicious French country dish made from harvesting late summer vegetables, or the animated film centered around a rodent gourmand who dazzles a restaurant critic with the same dish, ratatouille involves nourishing our soul.

In the Chinese calendar, we are on the verge of the Year of the Metal Rat. These zodiac Rats are know for their industrious nature, and the ability to gather sustenance and prosperity and tuck it away much like the harvesting of late summer vegetables.

I am a Metal Rat and fit that profile quite well. Coincidentally, I am petite and small-boned and quite adept at hiding in corners. You will often find me there, worrying and working myself to the bone, typical behavior of the first sign in the Chinese Zodiac. Although it might not be listed in this lucky sign’s traits, I do love me some metal music.

If you are a fellow Metal Rat, it is our year to shine. Metal is a conductive energy, so whatever we touch will have powerful energy behind it. Be careful and vigilant where you focus your thoughts and tasks, you don’t want to waste that power down the wrong path or in too much worry. I consider it quite auspicious that I am about to retire and making plans to building the next chapter in my life’s story. My efforts have been in the left-brained, logical world for many a year, so I am gearing up to give my right-brain, creative side some release. #Create!!

Even if you are not a fellow – ahem – rodent, it is a potent year for shoring up your resources. Invest wisely, beautify your nest and fill your coffers with that which sustains your life. The little rat is a workaholic worrier, always afraid there is never enough financial abundance, yet loves practical luxury. That little nest will always be stylish and those little feet shod in beautifully made shoes. The task at hand for the rat, is that in order to avoid excessive worry about money is to not overspend. Go green, recycle, upcycle, my little friends, and don’t overlook secondhand and consignment shopping. I have just discovered this market, and have scored some lovely luxury items at minimal cost. Minnie Mouse understands that you can look fabulous and be frugal at the same time.

Don’t neglect the inside, while covering up the outside. An overload of chemicals will keep you feeling off, bloated, itchy and overweight. Chemicals are everywhere and in most everything, and our bodies have difficulty in eliminating them. Think of your intestines and skin as a filtering system, and drink pure filtered water every day. Eat organic, non-GMO food. Rats have thin skin and are susceptible to the “itchies” and you don’t want to look like that. This is going to be a big year and you want to keep your body in as good a condition as possible so you have the energy to give it your best. Not that you shouldn’t do that any other year.

Remember to be a little social too, my fellow Rats, all work and no play is unhealthy. Our workaholic tendencies cause us to put all our duties before play, and usually there isn’t enough time nor energy left for play. Yes, I know you want to put the laundry away before going to the party, but no one has ever died from not having folded towels. A much refreshed you is a much happier you.

Come out of the corners, little Rats, dream big and put those plans into action. Be sure to join those celebratory parties when you meet a milestone. #wineandcheese

PS. I’ve also been told that rats make good pets.

Re-Evolving

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Image by Mira Cosic from Pixabay

Is it just me, or does it feel like Mercury Retrograde? I know it isn’t supposed to start until February 17th, but OMG, things feel crazy.

I have been reading some of the astrology reports and today begins a “collaboration”, if you will, of Pluto and Saturn. Pluto likes to destroy everything in its path, and Saturn loves to build structures. Maybe that’s why it seems like the work of my busy, little planet. I can’t claim to understand all of what this big meet-up means, but it seems pretty simple. Take a bulldozer to everything and rebuild. Not that I am recommending that to anyone.

It seems fitting that this is happening in January, when everyone is hell bent on setting resolutions and reinventing their life in some way. Most resolutions fail within about six weeks, or so I am guessing, so maybe this planetary collusion will help some of those big plans actually stick. Did you make resolutions this year? I didn’t and rarely ever do. You gotta turn something into a habit or way of life instead of just some grand plan.

Do you feel like you are stuck in some dull routine, just because, but it doesn’t really serve you? Perhaps Pluto will help, or maybe force, you into ditching it for something better. For example: do you go to your in-law’s every Sunday for spaghetti dinner even though it gives you heartburn for three days? Maybe you like your in-law’s, so why not suggest they come to your house for pot roast instead? Or maybe you don’t like them, and it’s time to have a chat with your spouse about doing something different for Sunday dinner. Who knows, your spouse might so full of relief at your suggestion that’ll they will make dinner. Winner-winner, chicken dinner!

Whatever the circumstance, it is important to acknowledge that there is some crazy energy going on and to do what you must to stop the panic. Don’t rush out to buy a new refrigerator just because it had a brain fart and displayed an error code. (Like ours did this morning. We have it on notice, but a backup plan with a spare fridge in the garage.) Don’t get a divorce because you hate in-law spaghetti dinners. Don’t quit your job because your boss went all stupid over a report. Breathe, be vigilant if necessary, but let the Universe guide you on the path for your Highest Good.

That is what this Pluto-Saturn thing is all about. The re-emergence of the real you. The ever, evolving journey of your life. The support and resources to make powerful, enduring changes. The Universe has your back and wants you to be happy and evolving into your best you.

Running On Empty

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Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

The countdown to retirement has begun and everyone wants a piece of my brain. No wonder I feel like a Zombie this week. Hope the Apocalypse doesn’t kick off this week, not that there would be much left of me anyway.

It’s the beginning of the month, which means I need to do all those financial tasks that brings in money and makes anal-retentive people happy. It is hectic, but added to this task is training my manager on how to do the work. Think about doing brain-intensive work and explaining it at the same time. I can barely remember my name when I go home.

The sad thing is that I just don’t care anymore. Maybe it’s not so sad as much as it is a true indicator that my time of service is finished. Maybe that’s just how we know that it is time to move on and do something else. It could be a job, a relationship, a place or just a habit that has outgrown its usefulness in our lives. Sadness, yes, but if you can let go you will see how much you have grown and are now ready to discover and learn something new. We tend to look at letting go as a bad thing, when really it is a healthy thing. Think of it like growing out of your kid bike with training wheels and climbing onto a multi-geared adult bike. Look how you can go now! Unfortunately, my bike has a flat tire so I am limping along until I can get a new bike.

Note if you will, that it is only changing the type of bike, not dumping the whole thing altogether. We don’t need to change our identity entirely when we outgrow something. And maybe sometimes, all we need is a new tire.

A New Decade Rolls In

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Image by Annalise Batista from Pixabay

Happy 2020 to all! I’m back online, mostly, as I’m still in recovery mode for my wrist. Who knew such a little lump would be such a big deal. I’m back to work tomorrow so we’ll see how that goes.

Not just a new year has begun, but a whole new decade. The time is ripe for a new, or just revised, vision of your life. Resolutions are usually a wasted effort and often abandoned within three weeks. I’m talking about a vision. How do you see yourself? What do you want your life to look like? Have you practiced that?

In February, I am retiring after 18-plus years of government service. It’s been a good run for me. I helped start up a new county and made it a worthwhile career. I set my intention to serve and I feel as though I lived up to that goal. But now it’s time to serve me.

I’ve been in the prep mode of this event for a couple of years. I’ve begun new hobbies, written a-yet-to-be-published book, researched places to visit and practiced activities and interests. The three weeks I have been away from work due to my surgery have been very useful in teaching me what matters. I expect retirement to still have its surprises, but I am ready. I have my vision of what my life will look life. I look forward to this new decade and what it will bring.

How about you? What vision have you imagined for yourself? Have you taken any action steps or practiced your vision? Are you ready for the reality of it?

Many blessings, hopes, dreams and most of all, good times to all of you as we journey forth.

The Light Always Returns

background-3009949_1920Lest you all think I’m dead, I’m just on hiatus because of my wrist.  I get the splint bandage off on Friday and will be pounding on my keyboard once again.  Damn hard to do anything with only your non-dominant hand.

I needed to write this post, if only to remind myself.  This is the Season of Light, no matter the name or method you celebrate.  A time when it shines through the darkest hour.  It begins with the Solstice, the shortest day of the year, that scared the sh*t out of ancient people.  They believed the world was ending.  Symbolically, it represents our own personal “dark night of the soul”, when we mistakenly believe we are at the end.  Perhaps it may be your time, but it is often when we’ve hit the bottom.  It’s a long, dark night.  And then, the sun rises and light returns.

This season represents birth in many belief systems.  Again symbolically, it is we who experience rebirth, rising out of the long, dark night.  You see, the Light never, ever leaves us and it is always more powerful than the dark.

As you celebrate this season, always look for the Light within all.  Namaste.

Ambula-dextrous

handAre there any of you out there who are ambidextrous? Hone that skill razor sharp. It may be more important than you think.

This past Thursday, I had surgery on my right wrist. Nothing serious, but the location called for immobilization. My right hand is my dominant hand, and you don’t appreciate that until you can’t use it. It was orthopedic outpatient and I got great care. My anesthetic was a Bier Block – no you don’t drink it and there is no hangover. If you ever have surgery and they tell you that’s what you get, say “yes, please” and hold out your hand or other body part. You will be thankful you did. The recovery is quick, with almost no side effects – at least for me.

I had two IV’s; does anyone like them?! The first one starts pumping fluids in, because you are dehydrated from being banned from even water for several hours. (Although I wonder how many people pee the bed in the OR – weird thought, but I bet you wonder too.) Then they roll you into the freezer and start the prep work. You’re strapped down, as if you could get up and walk away. Then the antibiotics start oozing into the IV, burning like hellfire. The next IV goes into the surgery hand. I got a case of the jitters from being both cold and nervous. I say so, and the anesthesiologist starts the calming fluid. Thank God. They start prepping my arm and I’m out. Next thing, I’m being wheeled out of the freezer and into recovery. I am awake and coherent, not to mention starving, courtesy of the magical Bier. I get crackers and OJ, and before long I’m dressed and out the door faster than I came in. How does that work?!

Going on again about the Bier Block, I was hungry. The paperwork said start slow with liquids. Hell with that, I needed substance. McDonald’s drive-thru scored me two Egg McMuffins and I inhaled one of them within the ten-minute drive home. The second was gone once I got in the house. Amazing, even for me. And I was awake. Anesthesia typically makes you pukey and out of it. So when I say, opt for the Bier Block, yeah baby!

Recovery now, is a whole nother story. No lifting, no pushing, makes sense. They didn’t say anything about twisting. When the bandage rubs across the incision it hurts like motherf*cking h*ll. TRULY. I dare not get it wet. Simple things like brushing teeth or putting on deodorant require grit and determination. My Sweetie has to wash my hair, which is sweet but requires much direction from me. Guys just don’t usually have the understanding of female rituals and why we use all that stuff. I tried curling (well, uncurling for me) my hair on Saturday and caused my hand to swell. Tylenol, ice and rest eventually fixed that, but still. Appreciate your ability to do the simple things.

So if you see someone with a cast or bandage wrap, give them a little assistance. You don’t have to pick them up and carry them, just provide an extra hand and feet. Open doors, carry their items, bring them coffee. Cut up their dinner – eating left-handed is a whole new experience. If it is your loved one, help them with some of those personal care things. If nothing else, it keeps them from being crabby.

Oh, and just in case, regularly practice using your mouse with your non-dominant hand and typing one-handed. You will be glad you did. I think it has taken me an hour to write this post.

The Power of Absolute Belief

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Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

This past Friday, the National Weather Service indicated that we [Colorado] could experience near-hurricane force winds late in the evening through Saturday afternoon. As the evening drew closer and the stalks in my front garden were waving wildly, I began to fear somewhat the damage a powerful wind could do. We live in a, now, three-year-old home that is well-built with quality materials, but wind of that force could still do damage. I remember a few years ago, when 70 mile-an-hour gusts caused the upstairs windows to howl and shake.

The forecasters predicted up to 90 mile-an-hour gusts with this storm. OMFG.

I reasoned that since there was still 14 inches of snow covering the patio furniture, the likelihood of it blowing over was slim. We have a number of large windows in our home, and I worried what the wind might do to them.

It was time to ask for Help.

If you have followed my blog, you know that in spite of my endless profanity, I write about practical spirituality. Practical spirituality is believing in something beyond what we can see, but using it in a way that fits with real life, and real-life people swear. A lot. I think it is part of coping. None of this, however, diminishes my belief in Spirit or the Universe. I feel that accepting real life for what it is strengthens my belief rather than making it all fakey-perfect. (My opinion and not intended to offend.) This weekend turned this practical faith into a complete acceptance of belief.

Saturday morning had me checking the weather report and roaming from window to window, watching the gusts of wind and wondering when the worst of it was rolling in. OMFG rolled through my head, because. . . well, that’s me. I got tired of pacing the floor and realized it was time to turn my worries over to the more Powerful Forces. When I am worried or afraid and can’t settle down, Archangel Michael is my go-to guy for making me feel safe. So I asked Him. . . “please shield and protect our home and keep it safe and secure in this storm”.

All around us the wind went wild. I watched one of the meteorologists in a neighborhood about five miles away, and he was having difficulties standing in place. His neck scarf was blowing sideways, as was the microphone cord. Roads were shut down going every direction out of the city. Further north showed white-out conditions. I-70 was completely shut down. I’m certain lots of people were saying “OMFG!” as they tried to navigate through the storm.

But here, in my little neighborhood, branches were waving about but none of them sideways. No small dogs, no flying monkeys or witches on brooms were sailing through the air.

You might say coincidence or change in the weather pattern or whatever. Okay. I believe in the absolute power of a prayer for help. I believe that because I asked for help, and Let It Go to be as it is willed, that my prayer was answered. Our home and property, and that of the neighborhood, was safe and secure. And I can’t begin to explain how that feels.

Try it sometime. Ask for help. Accept that whatever happens will be for your highest good. Even if your prayer contains profanity. Spirit doesn’t care about the words. . . only that you ASK.

Happy Every Little Thing

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Image by John Hain from Pixabay

I’m in a food coma from Thanksgiving dinner, but I am very happy to have eaten it. I am happy that my Sweetie had the forethought to buy a small turkey breast a couple weeks ago, because the restaurant we usually go to was closed.

Gratitude is about being thankful, but doesn’t it almost convey happiness? I am happy for this day: the food, a day of relaxation, time spent together, being warm, the sun is shining and the fact that I can still write in spite of the food coma.

People sometimes get tired of hearing the word “gratitude” like you should be thankful no matter what. Well, yes, but it is more of an attitude that you can find something in your life to be grateful for no matter what else is going on. Were you able to get out of bed, go pee and get a drink of water? Some people can’t, you know, because they are connected to tubes and things that do that for them. Shouldn’t you be grateful that you can?

And then there is the word “happy”, like you should immediately get a frowny face because you are supposed to be all upbeat and bouncy when you just got rear-ended. Be happy that you could walk away from that accident. Some people don’t, you know.

I have an endless number of things in my life to be grateful and happy for, even if I often don’t recognize them. We have the expectation that these should be something big, when sometimes all we need to do is be happy that we can still breathe and taste food.

What little things are you happy and/or grateful for?

Superman Stumbles

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Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

Kryptonite is the fictional element that renders Superman weak, helpless and incapable of using his superpowers. One tiny little atom of that stuff will take him to his knees.

I recently read a blog posting from the wonderfully gifted intuitive and delightfully entertaining, Radleigh Valentine, titled “Facing Your Kryptonite. (I obviously love the man.) Article  Radleigh writes that even we humans can have our own kryptonite to deal with.

I know I do and the article provided me with the opportunity to recognize and accept my kryptonite. From the time I was a baby, I was treated as an unwanted burden and I should be invisible. With all soul wounds, each time you encounter a situation that mimics the original wound you add another layer, much like that of an onion. The bigger the onion gets, the more it makes you cry if you try to remove the peel. However, you just need to learn how to cut it down to size.

Until very recently, and prompted by Radleigh’s article, I didn’t quite get why this issue continued to take me to my knees. I believe that the continual triggering of the wound is how the Universe gets your attention to deal with the matter. I also believe that it just might not be necessary to heal it right out of your life. Some things are there to serve a purpose.

We are human beings filled with the Light of the Universe. We are here to love and to learn by experiencing many things, and find our way back to our infinite connection with Spirit. Life is messy, busy and hectic and we, too often, wear ourselves out in our quest. We forget to ask our Guides and Spirit for help to make life more enjoyable and simpler. Maybe Spirit tosses a little kryptonite our way to render us helpless so we look up instead of down. Maybe these moments are the only way we can look within and see the beauty, the gifts, the talents and skills, the very light that is our superpower. I think that we wouldn’t ever see this if we didn’t have our kryptonite.

You may think this is a cruel joke played on us by Spirit. I assure you it is not. Spirit created us and doesn’t see any flaws within us. It is only our peanut brain that compares us to others. Spirit created us with many versions and varieties, because, well beige is boring. Spirit loves variety and thought you would too, but being human, we stupidly think it is bad. Spirit loves us no matter what, and so should we.

What is your kryptonite? Don’t know? Think about something or some persons that breaks you down, especially if it is a consistent pattern. What about it makes you feel bad? Do you find that you defend some part of you that gets disturbed by the pattern? Can you identify it? Patterns are the key. Maybe write it down and post it someplace where you can see it. Then write down what you believe to be your superpower. Put it next to your kryptonite and see how one can be in opposition to the other.

My kryptonite is feeling like an invisible, unwanted burden to others. My superpower is being kind, generous and thoughtful of others. These are in total opposition, but yet born out of the other, sort of like karma. My mission isn’t to rid myself of the kryptonite, rather to diffuse its strength by activating my superpower. Do you see now how that works?

Stumbled maybe, but not down for good.

Mercury Madness

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Image by NakNakNak from Pixabay

Mercury, that nimble-footed messenger planet, is dancing its way into retrograde on Halloween, October 31st. The third, and final, time this year, the little planet backs its way through the astrological sign of secretive Scorpio until November 20th. Make sure you check all the buttons, zippers, and seams on your Halloween costume, because this planet is known to – umm – rip things up.

Mercury has been doing this tri-annual dance for longer than we have known, which means you should know by now to protect your phone, computer, and take care with your words – both printed and spoken. The passionate and powerful sign of Scorpio excels at keeping secrets, and striking at a moment’s notice much like the creature form of the scorpion. With Mercury, people don’t always mean what they say so this is likely to be more pronounced during this cycle.

Best thing to do? Relax. And any other thing that starts with RE, or in going backwards. Re-think before doing, if you are plotting to cut your hair, get a tattoo or take up with an ex. Not an “Ex-cellent” time for anything new. If you are already in the midst of something, such as a contract or travel plans, prepare for some potential delays or mix-ups. Pack your necessities, and an extra pair of undies, in your carry-on bag, as well as all of your electronics and the power cords. Extra haggling over contracts might come up too, but if you are patient and review everything carefully, it could save you time, money and heartache in the long run.

And that Ex? Really?! Why did you split up in the first place? Forgot, didn’t you. Before you drunk-dial for a booty call, think back to those sexting messages – not addressed to you – that you found on their phone. And seriously, if you were down to the level of having to look at their phone, you better review your behavior patterns. Mercury’s little gift of communication and review might be a good time for you to look within and see what Scorpio inspired secrets you might be keeping from yourself. Repression is also a RE word, and one that would benefit you to seek out some professional counseling.

Mercury can bring crazy-making to the forefront. It is no fun to have your phone permanently crash while on vacation, as mine did in the blissful Caribbean. That little gift made me focus on my surroundings rather than check the weather report back home. (It still snowed.) The Blue Screen of Death on your computer could just be that it is old, slow, and out-of-date. Whether you get it repaired or invest in a new Big Dog (me, again), set up backup in the form of the Cloud, external hard drive or even flash drives to avoid losing all those precious photos.

Mercury madness happens for a reason, if only to get us to slow down and check in to see if we are still on our path or need to re-route in another direction. Be thankful it is only three times a year.