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.

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.

Magic Isn’t Just For Christmas

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Reposted from December 5, 2017

A plate of cookies.  A cup of hot chocolate.  It was time for bed, but you promised yourself you wouldn’t fall asleep.  SANTA was coming that very night.  And maybe, just maybe, because you KNEW you had done all your chores, that He was going to bring you Barbie’s house for Christmas.

And there it was the next morning – after all, you did fall asleep – sitting under the tree all shiny and new.  And oh my gosh, there was Ken too, perched right in front! Dreams do come true.

But one day that all changed.

I remember when I figured it out.  Probably around eight or nine years of age.  I was taught not to expect much so my too-adult-self learned to how to find things.  Okay, snoop.  When you are small and not paid attention to, it is pretty easy to lose yourself in the house.  Especially closets.  That hold many interesting things.  Like Christmas presents.  And that’s when I lost the magic.

This isn’t a story meant to sadden you or feel sorry for a small girl.  There are many like me and worse.  This is about something bigger, something more powerful than we can imagine.  I am talking about Manifestation.

Real, true, yes-you-can, Magic.  What you think, so shall it be.

When we were children, we came into the world with all our intuitive abilities.  We could create simply by thinking that whatever it was already existed.  Just like the magic of Santa.  But your parents bought the presents, you say.  Well, sometimes manifestation involves other people.

Your thoughts have power.  You can create the life you want by manifesting it. 1) Write down what you want to achieve.  Add details.  At the bottom of the list, write “This Or Something Better”.  2) Fold the paper into some shape you like.  3) Make a symbolic gesture of handing it up to the Universe and give thanks for ALREADY having it in your life. 4) Put the paper away where you can find it, but can’t look at it every day.  (Do you dig up seeds to look at them after you’ve planted them? No. Same thing.)  5) Go about your daily duties and let the magic happen.

Don’t put conditions on when or how your dream happens.  The Universe knows what you need and when.  Pay attention, because the Universe will give you clues to help you achieve your dream.  A feeling to go somewhere; a business idea; meeting a new friend or partner; a job offer.  Consider these activities like playing catch.  You tossed your wish to the Universe, It tosses back an action step, you do it and toss it back, and so on until your dream is realized.

Even Santa can’t top that one.

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.

Going Within

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Do you ever feel restless and out-of-sorts and don’t know why? Typically, it is because you have absorbed someone else’s yucky energy and your body knows and is trying to get your attention. So, first of all, clear your energy. There are a multitude of methods: you can envision a white tornado swirling through your body and sending all the muck down into the earth, you can literally brush your hands down your body like you are getting rid of cobwebs (yuck), you can ask your Angels to clear your energy or any other thing that works for you. If you have done all that, and still feel wonky, it’s the sign that you need to look within yourself for the answers.

Meditation is the way to connect to Spirit and your Higher Self to seek guidance and answers to your rampant thoughts. Sometimes we allow ourselves to feel off to avoid listening to those messages. We might just fear the answer, which is silly, because Spirit would never tell us anything bad. You may think it’s bad if it requires making a big change in your life. Silly again, because Spirit will guide us to really good changes and give you the action steps if you just pay attention.

If you still fear the answers, begin your meditation by asking that you feel safe and protected. Your guidance will then steer you down the path that is in alignment with your energy. The action steps may come slower or they may be disguised as brilliant ideas – always good. Meditation will help you see a brighter future.

So go within, if only to see the light within yourself.

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.

Sandals to Snow Shoes in 24 Hours

It is 80 degrees in Colorado on October 8th. We are expecting 72 degrees tomorrow, and then, SNOW on Thursday. That four-letter word that turns the average nice person into a maniac when it first arrives in the fall.

Leaves have barely turned. Flowers are still pushing blooms out for our visual pleasure. Ghosts and goblins are appearing on front porches everywhere and Christmas trees are arriving in stores.

Fall seems to turn everyone inside out. Traditionally, it is the time of harvest when we reap the rewards of all that we have planted. Did you sow a fertile field this year? Whether it is farmland wheat or just the seeds of your dreams, now it the time to see if it all has grown to meet your desires.

I hope you planted something. Action steps towards your dreams or just a pretty daisy in a pot, there is life and hope and beauty in your life. When we cannot plant even a thought, we lose sight of where we are going. The journey is yours to design, not just be swept along by someone else’s tide. Or snowstorm.

I don’t look forward to the first snow, yet I can still see its beauty. It dampens down the harvest, cleans the air, and heralds in a time of rest. Away goes our fun sandals of summer, and out comes fuzzy boots and the warmth of a fire. Time to settle in and nurture ourselves, give thanks for another season of growth, and relax until it is time to plant new ideas or something of beauty.

Goodbye happy flip-flops, see you in the summer.

Do Forward

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Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

You’ve heard the term “do over”. Typically it is combined with a lasting feeling of regret. Why would you beat yourself up if you did the best you could, with what you had, at the time you did it?

Whenever we have some goal we want to accomplish, or a continual way of doing something, we study, learn and practice with the intent to become better. Sometimes our goals include a competitive event or testing of some sort to determine our proficiency. And then the self-judgement sets in and we wish for a “do over”.

Why not look at it from a different perspective and consider it a “do forward”? Ditch the regrets, the shame, the sadness, even the anger and focus forward instead of backwards. Looking back keeps you stuck backwards. How can you envision your future if your gaze is on what you should have done? See each new moment as a brand new opportunity to stretch, to grow, to reach beyond what you though you could do. Why would you want to do over if you could do different?

Think about the movie “Ground Hog Day”, in which the character woke up over and over to the same day. Sure, it may have been an opportunity to do something different, but it was THE SAME DAY. The environment was never different and neither were the people. So by doing over, you never get the chance to experience something new.

Maybe the day you had your competitive event was crappy weather. Would you want a do over in that? No, you’d rather have better weather. Maybe you had a mild cold the day you took your test. Would you want a do over with a runny nose, or would you rather have good health?

By doing forward, you open yourself to new possibilities, a new environment, and the ability to bring a new you to your event. Imagine what you could do.

Put Me In, Coach

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Image by Keith Johnston from Pixabay

“Centerfield” is a classic rock song by John Fogerty, released in 1985 about someone telling the coach that they were ready to play, and in center field. It’s that fighting spirit that all coaches want to see.

I know it is about baseball, which I’m not that interested in, but I often use sports analogies when I’m writing to demonstrate my meaning.

We know that a good coach can bring out the best in their athletes and lead them to a winning season. A good coach has passion, can read their players, can encourage them and most of all, know the game. They need to be able to teach the players the mechanics and techniques that work the best, but at the same time encourage them to go beyond. At times, they also must be tough, and not afraid to crawl all up in someone’s sh*t if they aren’t pulling their weight.

Coaches aren’t limited to sports. They can be those rah-rah people around you, cheering you on during life victories. There are also professional life coaches, with formulas for success, who lead seminars and write books for self-help people.

I am beginning to think of myself as a life coach. It wasn’t something I aspired to, as my passion was always about design. Coaching was more of a calling born out of dealing with my own life issues and learning. I can say I am passionate about spirituality and metaphysics, having studied them for over 40 years. I have taken classes for developing psychic abilities and healing. As I got older and realized that my early years were having an impact on my choices and behavior patterns, I knew I needed to do something about them. I went to talk therapists, psychics and energy healers. They made a difference, but ultimately, I knew that the changes had to come from within me. Since I learn best through reading and research, I delved into the world of self-help. I practiced the behavior modification techniques often recommended, and the best one for me was to call out my inner child and mother her in the way that she didn’t get. That shifted a whole lot of the baggage I carried.

I was so impacted by my changes that I wanted to share with others. Whenever I have (and still do) encounter someone having difficulties, I reach out with personal experiences and suggestions for making changes. (Not being a medical professional, I don’t diagnose or attempt to treat those with severe issues.) I often feel guilty afterwards; who am I to tell someone how to run their life? But I have learned, and done this myself, people will hear what they want to hear and ignore the rest. Thus, no offense given, and none taken.

I’m not ready to take the step into professional coach. I still carry doubts about “lecturing” people on how to manage their life. I’m also concerned about being overwhelmed by the demands, so I keep reminding myself to take baby steps. Writing this blog is a baby step. I can tackle an issue, make suggestions and put them out there for people to accept or not. If I’m using this as a training ground, then I realize that I’m not really telling anyone what to do, just making recommendations and how-tos for making life better. Sort of like showing someone with basic cable what they could get if they sign up for the 250+ package. Woo-hoo!, because the biggest win in life is living a good life.

If there is a topic you would like me to address, for the good of one and all, then please comment back.

Or just say “put me in, Coach, I’m ready to change!”.