A Portal Named San Diego

 

For some time now, I’ve been searching for a way to get back to the Mother Country, back into the fold, to expand my business, my network, my craft and career. Yet I kept coming up against a big fat stupid wall, and could see no clear path before me. The work I’ve done in Mexico has been like no other work; I’ve had monumental experiences with cattle ranching, butchering, and ethical meat like I never would in America, yet it has all whet my whistle to want to experience more — and become a stronger advocate. I’m extremely grateful to the people and places that have presented and provided opportunities in the past few years, ay Chihuahua what an education!

Somehow along the way while in Mexico, I lost contact with the family I once knew, and it’s been quite odd to no longer have a home nor place in America — anywhere in America. I’ve never been okay with this lack of status. Thankfully, I’ve come to know a vital and strong local community, and continue to meet new friends and allies within my sketching and ethical meat communities.

I’ve had a desire to get back to America for some time now, even as the country marinates in a strange orange hue. My schemes and dreams have often awakened me in the wee hours of the night, because I’m not ready to live full time in a retirement town. There’s still much more to sort out, yet I found a portal opportunity in San Diego, California — and I couldn’t be more delighted to cast the net in that direction.

I’ve been approved to teach “Sketch Balboa Park” as an Airbnb Experience, and I begin in May, as I will be there for an extended Memorial Day holiday. I’m excited to stay at a friend’s house and dog sit her brilliantly bouncy dog, Belle. I’m bringing Art Leap Adventures with me, as it’s time to make it a legit business and expand my efforts into America and market to a larger audience. I’ll to continue to organize sketch tours to Mexico, partner with more top-notch instructors, and explore the fascinating and diverse country that is Mexico.


It’s good to learn how to sketch, and I’ll continue to encourage people to do so. We all need a break from our screaming phones, no?

I am not abandoning my ethical meat and cattle welfare efforts; in fact I feel as though I’ve gone as far as I could in Mexico, and now it’s time to take it home. I continue to stay current with the Regenerative Agriculture communities of America, yet it’s certain more will be revealed when I’m on the ground. Meat is so mysterious in America, mostly fast and cheap, as is much of the food these days. Now it’s my turn to follow my own advice to find a local farmer and hold him or her tight — because I’ll need a local source for good clean meat and bones.


Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee I’m so excited to get back to America!

What is a Modern Farmer REPOST

I’m re-posting my explanation of how and why I became a Modern Farmer, and will ignore the desire to make changes like omitting a person, and will allow the excitement of my new found passion, purpose, clarity and gratitude remain the focus of the story.

~~~~~~~~~~

In 2013, I was hit with a powerful waterfall of emotions and tears as I blurted out I wanted to be a Modern Farmer, in the last hour of the last day of a Sonia Choquette six-sensory workshop. A Modern Farmer, what the heck does that mean?!! Aside from the magazine of the same name, I was very unclear about where this explosion of feelings came from, and laughed and scoffed the entire way home, no way could I be a modern farmer, oh the audacity!

Truth be told, once I uttered those words, I felt as if I had been hit by lightning; the spark had been lit but I had no idea what to do with it. A modern farmer, you say!? Oh stop.

sonia_workshop
Moments after declaring my Modern Farming ambitions

I did spend the first few years of my life on a dairy farm in Huntley, Illinois, although I have little-to-no-memory of it. But now that both my parents were dead, the pull to be in the country was strong, much to my chagrin. I fought it, dug my heels in, as I really believed I was supposed to be in Chicago. I was a Big City Gal, in fact, I was afraid of the country and all its creatures that go boo in the night; the wide open spaces made me terribly nervous. Give me a deserted city street at midnight any time over a quiet country, star-lit night. Once while house-sitting for my brother and his wife in Hebron, Illinois, I called 911 because I heard noises and was certain I was about to be terrorized. After a brief inspection, the policemen said to me, “do you realize that’s the wind?”

I called the cops on the wind.

There had been such tremendous and rapid loss at this point in my life; jobs, addresses, jewelry, my truck — my mom — and through all this I could feel the magnetic pull back to the country. Or maybe it was fear? Or, I know, it was shame, because how embarrassing to lose my everything, so why not run to the country with my tail between my legs? And what was I supposed to do, pray tell, become a tomato farmer? Can I support myself on tomatoes? Maybe a sprout farmer? My track record with plants has never been great and now I think I can be a sprout farmer? Fat Chance. I may have been sitting squarely in the farmlands of Northern Illinois-Southern Wisconsin, but I had a snowball’s chance in hell to become a farmer, modern or old-timey, at this point.

I filed the day dream away and continued my desperate search of WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH MY LIFE?!

Days after Sonia’s workshop, it was Thanksgiving, and thanks to a wonderful invite from my generous ex-husband, Reed, I made my way back to San Miguel de Allende and then to Austin, which I now call home. I quickly forgot all about my farming declaration and moved on to the task of cleaning up the wreckage from my past. I was a fairly miserable girl when I was married to Reed and had felt terribly guilty about how our marriage ended. It ended badly. Certainly not the worst divorce in the world, but I never got over the guilt for my bad behavior and selfish ways. The years I lived in Illinois after the divorce were one big alcohol-fueled guilt trip. This was my opportunity to make amends for my harmful behavior.

frida_diego

Whether he would agree or not, I believe I have made amends to the best of my abilities, first and foremost by being kind to the deserving Reed, and then by trying to be there in ways I had not been in the past. Not everyone gets a shot at this, nor would many want one, and even though it’s been messy and painful all over again, I am super-grateful I had this opportunity to make right a few of my wrongs. This has helped me to grow up. I like growing up, it feels good.

In early August of this year, after returning once again to San Miguel, I overheard Reed on the phone making a deal to sell his Mexican cows to a factory farm in Northern Mexico. Wait, wait, whoa, whoa WHAT?! I said as he hung up the phone.

Reed purchased his ranch in Dolores Hidalgo after we married in 2005; there were little or few cattle when he purchased it, and he spent the past 10 years adding to and cleaning up the breed of Limousin cattle to create a fine, handsome, beautiful breed of cattle; in addition to drilling for water and creating a majestic, sprawling, lush, 250-hectare Guanajuato rancho. The sound of the wind is amazing out here; I would never call the cops on it.

RSN
Majestic Rancho Santo Niño

Given my recent experience with a thyroid condition and the need to eat paleo, yet finding little-to-no resources for grass-fed beef in San Miguel de Allende, I chimed in with, “we need grass-fed beef right here in San Miguel and that’s what you have. Why don’t we make meat right here instead of shipping them off to a feed lot, where the cows are mostly wanted only for their arrachera?” Reed responded, “If you can find someone to process the cows, you can have some cows.”

The next day I was at Via Organica, aka, Central Mexico’s Whole Foods, and within two weeks, the team was assembled to produce grass-fed beef.

RSN_cover
The handsome Limousin cattle of Rancho Santo Niño

And so began Rancho Santo Niño.

I had spent the past year living with the cows at Reed’s ranch in Texas; I practiced reiki on them, played crystal bowls for them, and especially loved watching the Texas sunsets with them within an earshot. I loved those cows and had (have) great regard for them. Reed says, “cows are dumb.” I say no they are not! They are amazing mothers and any creature that is a wonderful mother is not dumb.

crystalbowls
Playing the crystal bowls off the back of the pick-up for the Texas cows

While I have great respect for the cows and their place in the world, I do know why these cows are here. They are fuel for the people. Oh but how to get them to the people?!

I think factory farming is an unspeakable, horrible injustice to all the animals churned out through them, in turn turning out sick food; to which some people have responded, yeah but you kill the cows too! This is true, but how the cows are treated until it is their time to become fuel for the people is where I want to do it different. I see the hidden videos of how animals are slaughtered; it bothers me tremendously as well. Have you see the Temple Grandin’s movie? She understood this on an entirely different level.

The hard-working cattle ranchers out there producing responsibly raised grass-fed beef are my inspiration, and I don’t pretend for one moment to be a fraction of a rancher, nor skilled tradesperson that they are, but I have learned amazing things through them and with my own experience of working with the ranchers and butchers of Dolores Hidalgo. I have thrown my hat in the ring of producing responsibly-raised grass-fed beef and this makes me incredibly proud and I am excited as I forge ahead and learn new things everyday. I am in on every step of this process and believe it has made me a kinder person, a more mindful person and the gratitude I feel each day when I drink my bone broth is a feeling I don’t want to shake anytime soon.

Producing grass-fed beef been a profound experience thus far.

Cattle ranching done right can save the world’s global warming demise, so says Allan Savory; his TED Talk is extremely moving and inspiring.

Oh and that declaration I made two years ago? I suppose it came true…

 

 

Tragic day in Paris

With each line I thought of my time in Paris, the boy I dated, the friends I met, and the streets I walked. She will be rebuilt, but I know many of us watched in horror as the flames engulfed the mighty catedral.

Urban Sketcher

@meagan_burns_

I’ve been an Urban Sketcher for about a year, and with each sketch I look at it as the foundation for the next; there’s no finish line, it’s just a way to get things out and on the paper. I’ve met some awesome new friends, I’ve traveled and drawn with other Urban Sketchers. I’ve helped organize San Miguel de Allende to be a Regional Chapter, and the group is growing daily. I organize traveling workshops to take Urban Sketching on the road — all super-fun!

Bottom line: I love to sketch and play with sketchbooks :))) follow along at @meagan_burns_

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Hey Chicago Whaddya Say

How do I not sound cliche when talking about how tremendously remarkable it is to be a Chicagoan this week? How do I contain myself when thoughts of the World Series makes me cry, even now, half-a week later? How do I bottle these warm fuzzies emanating from my heart, so that they stay with me forever, especially as we’re staring down the loaded barrel of the most terrifying presidential election the world has ever seen? How do I thank the Cubs for what they’ve done? How do I thank my tremendous friends, who are my family?

I feel a sense of urgency to write about my recent visit to Chicago, as I suspect the outcome of next week’s brutal presidential gun fight will not end peacefully on Tuesday, nor anytime soon thereafter. The rally cry of either losing team is going to be horrendous, horrific and no doubt appalling, continuing America’s downward orange spiral into becoming an actual reality tv show, which I will also refuse to watch, just like reality tv.

BUT OH MY STARS. Did you see that World Series??? Ten Epic Innings, One Tremendous Outcome!

I purchased tickets to Chicago several months ago, before having a whisper of a clue they were headed for greatness. By early October, I was sitting on an undecided fence, leaning towards canceling, as a run to the Midwest did not seem appropriate, nor affordable.

See, I don’t have family in Chicago anymore; everyone has either died, moved away or is angry. I must always think twice about Chicago, the place I grew up, the city where I was educated, worked and played, fell down then stood up to only fall down again, the place where my family and its familiarity once was — all things I once knew are no longer there. I am uncertain if I belong in Chicago, if anywhere at all.

Cubs in the playoffs, how cool is that, poor Bartman.

Wait, wait, WAIT A MINUTE, win this game, go to the WORLD SERIES?? As in the REAL World Series??

I jumped on Twitter — I can’t see baseball in Mexico, so Twitter’s the next best thing. Hey look! All my real Twitter pals are actually on Twitter and they’re tweeting each other! I throw out a tweet, my friends tweet back! No one tweets anymore, haven’t you heard? But right now we’re here and in an electrified state of disbelief, omg CUBS WIN HEY HEY, everyone tweets they got to get to Chicago!!

The Cubs won the playoffs and they’re going to the World Series WHAT!?

I must go to Chicago. I began to cry as memories of my youth came flooding back. My parents, uncles, cousins, grandparents — the Cubs peppered my youth; but we became numb to the salt in our wounds, didn’t we? We’re talking about the Cubs after all. The loveable losers, just WAIT til next year, we’ll really show youz guyz something! No, THIS is the year, it’s really happening.

My time living on Waveland, just past Murphy’s, please tell me they’re losing so it’s easier to get tickets for the bleachers. Right field sucks, by the way, and for the love of God, throw it back you moron. I can hear Harry singing in my kitchen, lemme hear ya now! I rarely slept while living on Waveland; I was voted most popular cousin and someone was always clawing at my door. It was. Hilarious, to say the least.

My dad took us to Wrigley more than a few times. Always two sections up from third base, my brothers and dad remained focused on game details as we chomped on hotdogs and peanuts, yet always promptly departing after the 7th inning stretch to finish the game on the car radio. God forbid we get stuck in Cubs traffic. Looking back, I think my dad was afraid of Chicago, but he loved the Cubs and rooted for them until the end of his days. He retired in Phoenix and my brothers and I went to see the Cubs play the Sox in Mesa; the Sox won and the hotdogs were lousy. Arizona hotdogs hmmmmppfffh.

My uncles preferred the White Sox, a team for the working man, the salt of the earth, with Comisky a stone’s throw away from Maywood race track. “A man can afford to take his kids and have a beer with the Sox,” I recall uncle Buzz telling me once. He took my brothers and I to a few Sox games, but most memorable for me was the Maywood race track afterwards. Kids are King!

My grandmother was a Lone Fox in her family, in more ways than one, and she too adored the Cubs in a sea of black and white hats. She would watch The Young and the Restless then tidy up before the Cubs game, which she always watched with the shades drawn, and sunglasses on. She spoke of Ryne Sandburg often, as if they were acquainted; she adored him. On a balmy September day in 1994, my grandmother Rose fell over from a brain aneurysm while watching her team; she was dead before she hit the floor. My mom was asked, “did she die doing what she loved?” Nope, she didn’t. But just wait til her next reincarnation!!

All my people are gone, but not forgotten, and I quickly realized my entire hometown was not only balling because the Cubs were gonna win today, but because of what the Cubs meant to their families and to their youth. It was a huge homecoming, and I was a part of the mad dash to O’Hare. Everyone smiled and hugged and held doors for strangers, I was never so delightfully thrilled to be home, and for a brief moment it was easy to forget about the hateful political season and enjoy the game of baseball in November in Chicago.

HOORAY!

My week in Chicago was spent with some of the most awesome and amazing friends I tried for years to forget, because I assumed they forgot me. The girls I grew up with, the girl I got sober with, the girl I Instagram with, the girl in Texas who treats me like family, the girl from San Miguel and my little screaming Italian Aunt, who remains my hometown cheerleader, proudly displaying my Modern Farmer magazine article on her highly Lemon-Pledged coffee table, for all to see.

These women rallied around and with me, made me feel comfortable in their homes and trusted me with their pets. They included me in their family meals and made space for me to watch the game on the couch. We cried when the Cubs lost, and cheered and sang like fools when the Cubs won. Fly that W and Go Cubs Go!

I had an amazing time in Chicago and I’m so grateful to my friends and family who graciously welcomed me home, when I was certain I had nowhere to go. Thank you Pate, Noelle, Kristin, Rose, Judy, Joan and Aunt Nancy; in the words of Eddie Hinsberger, I love you all.


eddie loves you
Thank you Chicago Cubs for making it the best week in the world to be home, and congratulations on being the 2016 World Series Champions. Please pardon me for assuming you’d never get there, but thank you for proving me wrong from the bottom of my warm, fuzzy and reinvigorated heart.


Hey Chicago ya know what I say? The Cubs made me believe again. Orange is the new hate — but it will never prevail; the river is blue, faith’s been restored, the Cubs won the pennant, and I have a place in Chicago. THANK YOU.

Go Cubs Go! xx

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How Now Brown Cow

Negro & son

It’s been one year since Reed Burns gave me one cow to figure out how to produce grass-fed beef in San Miguel, and what a tremendous year of learning it’s been — and hopefully far from over. I find it all so very fascinating, interesting, satisfying and completely heartbreaking.

One year later still, the most difficult cow is Reed Burns, but that’s the price of this front line education on cattle ranching and making meat. Reed and I have evolved together in this partnership because we both have great regard and determination to make an agricultural contribution, but Lordy the road has been bumpy and difficult.

When I walked into that meeting with Via Organica last year, I wasn’t sure of the name of the ranch, how many cows there were, what they did all day, and I barely knew of the breed “Limousin”. I googled it that morning to discover they’re a hearty French cow, good in this terrain, known for easy birth and similar in meat quality to the Angus. Reed Burns knew what he was doing when he choose the breed for his Guanajuato ranch over a decade ago. And I knew that we needed a better quality of meat in our community.

I didn’t know many of the things I know today, and looking back, I may have thought twice if I knew what I was in for… but then again, no. I have loved all the challenges of learning about cows, ranching in Mexico, butchering — soup-to-nuts, as they say. I’d never have privy to the things I’ve experienced if I were in the States, that’s one of the beautiful things about an unregulated life in Mexico; I’ve had face-to-face access to the blood, sweat and tears of raising cows.

Morning

I am not hardened or immune to any of it and sometimes all this blood, sweat and tears takes my breathe away. It has brought me to my knees more than a few times. Ranch life is very close to the bone and I am surrounded by men who seem to be unaffected by the death or killing of cows, whereas I’m affected by it all and still want to be involved. I prefer to be affected, but it requires me to take care of myself so I can continue to tend to the job at hand with a clear mind. It requires me to elevate my thinking and continue to strive to be a better person in all that I do.

Yes, I do take it very personally and work diligently with the folks I am working with to provide a good life to the cows, before we take their final sacrifice. Who are we to ask for the life of a cow if we are not clear in our own lives?

Morning

My heart has grown with the cows and I get accused of being too emotionally attached to them. It’s true I love them. One of my most favorite places on earth is sunrise in the corral, when I can hear all the cows breathing and chewing and snorting. I breathe with them. I stare. They stare. They get up slowly and stretch their front legs much like dogs. An avalanche of poop and whiz begins to splat on the dirt. Sun up, time to eat, time to move out into the fields. It’s strenuous work getting out to the fields and these cows work hard and are quite lean, yet very well-natured. I bless them with reiki as they march out into the rocky pasture. Another day of hiking across the hills of Rancho Santo Niño in search of food.

Heading Out

I continue to work with Reed Burns because I want them to have a better life and their lives have improved over the past year. They eat better food, their housing structures have been expanded, and greater attention has been given to their health. If I were to walk away right now, I would be content to know their lives are better now than when they were a hobby ranch a year ago. But I haven’t walked away; I am also in on the butchering of these animals when it is time, because it is my commitment to make sure they have a good death, as well as a good life. None of it is easy, however.

Bone

We have been fortunate to have found a butcher in Dolores who has a tremendous heart and has taken time and consideration to teach me so many things about cows and meat. He has taught me how to smell a carcass and what to “look” for when smelling that carcass. So many cows are fed horrible diets and no matter what’s said when the animal is sold, the smell of the meat never lies.

My butcher has taught me the importance of a veterinarian who is not afraid to bend over. What, bend over??! Yes, when cows need shots, and they all do at some point, you want to work with a vet who will bend down to administer the shot in the lower leg quarter and not in the prime rump, because that affects the quality of the meat. Our butcher has also taken time to work with our ranch boys to teach them how unnecessary it is to hit or beat the cows. He takes care to photograph the results of a bruised cow — or rather, bruised meat, to show them the consequence of not taking care. It has worked! The ranch family now flail their arms and yelp to move the cows. It literally made me cry when I saw this the first time.

A good life and a good death, right?

I am emotionally attached, but I also butcher, deliver and devour con gusto. It’s the most profound and soulful work I’ve ever done. It also completely kicks my ass.

Recently, two bulls got into an argument as bulls do, and one bull took a horn under his jaw, which caused an existing tumor to very quickly grow and swell up the bull’s head. He stopped eating, became listless and motionless. We had to end his misery. I went to see our butcher to talk about it and he took from a very large bucket the head of this bull that I have enjoyed breathing with on occasion, and plopped it on the table in front of me. We looked at the jaw, we analyzed everything, as the dead eyes looked at nothing.  I knew that cow and I liked him a lot. “This is what happens Meag, just deal with it,” I kept telling myself. This is what happens, cows die, deal with it.

Guess what? I have no clue how to deal with it. I don’t want any of these cows to die and how in the world did I arrive at a place in my life that I’m in on the killing of cows?? How did this happen and will I ever be forgiven???

This has cracked my soul wide open to a very strange place and I find myself considering life and death, love and hate, sex and dying, as well as wondering how far away am I from having my head on a table being examined and considered if there was anything more that could’ve been done? Is this who I am, a murderer of cows, a happy carnivore, or is it forcing me to see and experience life from a place of extreme gratitude for all that I have?

The other day I began to sob about my part in the killing of these cows to the point where no sound came out and my rib cage trembled and ached. I asked for forgiveness, I asked if maybe I should go instead of the next cow. I looked to the sun and wondered am I good enough to be doing this work and to please help me become a better person.

There is more work to do. But first I will draw Negro el Toro because he is so handsome and strong…

Negro

 

 

 

Life on Charro Ranch

My time at Charro Ranch started with a heartbreak, ended with a heart stop, and had me question everything in between. Driftwood, Texas will forever be visceral in its realities of life and death, so long as it’s not gobbled up by concrete subdivisions, and has reminded me often not to take things too personally, because it is never about me and always something bigger. It has afforded me an opportunity to learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and I’ve come to appreciate all my experiences over the years on the ranch, as they race through my mind.

The plan was to meet Reed in Texas after a few days in Chicago, but he never arrived and now it seems quite possible he will always avoid the places I am standing, for reasons beyond my reasoning. It is because of these reasons I spent the time reorganizing my Texas life and preparing for a new direction, one that will include cows, but will not include Reed.

My first day in Texas, I backed my car up the driveway and heard a strange yelp as I rolled up to the house. I paused, looked out my car window and was horrified to see tiny legs kicking under the car. I maneuvered the car away, exposing a whimpering newborn deer who’s head I just crushed. She was still alive when I dropped to the ground and put my hands on her jerking body to calm her, or perhaps to calm my horror and give me the exasperated chance to apologize for killing her on her first day of life.

It was terribly heartbreaking. I was officially a wreck and fought back my tears during my eye exam later that morning, even my eye doctor, bless his heart, paused to hug and comfort me over the unfortunate early morning death of a fawn.

My apologies ... :'((
My apologies … :'((

After she left this world, I placed her lifeless body in a beautiful field of wildflowers I now call Fawn Field.

The days ticked by and it became evident Reed would not arrive. Our phone conversations were awful and ugly, his rage over me being in Texas grew by the hour.

The rains soon arrived and with it came an army of spiders, mud and scorpions looking for higher ground. Electricity flickered and roads disappeared. I was killing scorpions without batting an eye and barely flinched when I awakened a huge 5-inch centipede. On the third day, I could stand it no more and fled to Austin to escape the pounding rains and my saddening heart. Thank God for cousin Noelle; she helps me feel normal in the world again as I follow behind her in malls I am literally a foreigner in, stomping the scorpions away from my mind.

image

Texas has always tested me in this regard; its weather and insects always a bit bad-asser and larger than what I’m accustomed, and in hindsight I’ll always be grateful it hasn’t yet killed me, but in fact has made me stronger. I spent many years at odds with Texas; it is arrogant and uppity when you’re not from here, but now she’s in my blood and I love her many people, places, animals and occasional gut-wrenching lessons.

I soon returned to the ranch to finalize the condensing of my life, and spent a stormy sunset with the cows on Swan Lake. They moved in to stand closer, which surprised and delighted me, as the Texas cows have always kept a fair distance, but not on this night. Did they know I was sad and in need of a friend? No, I’m sure they did not but who’s to say if they did?

Sunset moos

Reed was not coming, and in fact he had since exploded in a sea of stabbing words at me, for me and about me; it is time for me to go. There is no point in details because when two people live in entirely different worlds, the details are unnecessary and the truth unavoidable; get out and away before someone gets hurt. Although someone may be hurt.

memories of Bandito
memories of Bandito

The last day at the ranch I was prepared to leave and went to dip my feet in a raging Onion Creek where Bandito Bridge crosses; I have renamed this bridge because I miss that dog terribly and we always had a blast at the river. It’s a beautiful day and I notice everything; I feel so privileged to know this part of the Texas Hill Country; it is magical and raw in so many ways and I think back to when I first arrived in 2005 and hated it with all its bugs and creatures that go bump in the night. I have come so far because now I love to spend time at Charro Ranch and will miss it terribly. But it is time to go. One last visit with the cows …

Bandito Bridge on Onion Creek
Bandito Bridge on Onion Creek

I pulled up to the barn and all the cows were wailing and screaming and mooing like mad, it was an awful, awful scene! I jumped out of my car to see that the calves were in the pen and the mommas were out; the calves were being weaned and everyone was wailing. RayRay the horse was in the pen too, and was more unsettled than usual, pushing the calves around with his nose, completely uninterested in the apple I had for him, heyying and neyying all over the place. “What the hell is going on here??!” I asked as the wailing got louder and cows who normally keep their distance moved still closer to me.

Slow-motion turn, just like the movies.

I turned around and saw “him”. A huge, raging black Spanish bull, a bullfighting bull to be precise, as I have seen many times at the bullfights in Mexico. He had escaped from a ranch down the highway and was crazed with lust. He was panting and grunting, his head darting impatiently and aggressively. Without a moment to think, I hopped on air the 30-or-so feet back to my car — the bull moved towards me and grunted even more. Then he began to run towards me yet turned on a dime just as I reached my car. Fight or flight, I was completely in it and have no recollection of anything for the next several whatever’s, but sat there with my mouth agape completely aghast that there was a raging bullfighting bull on the loose now raping all the wailing momma cows. The bellowing moos still haunt me, as does the fact I’m still alive when a bull bred to kill somehow did not to kill me. Remember this is not personal, Meag.

toro... toro.. toro WTF
toro… toro.. toro WTF

My week at Charro Ranch started with a tearful, dying whimper and ended in an explosion of seething anger, and while it is true my heart is still lodged in my throat, I’m alive with a flush in my veins and more wiser view of the world thanks to this Driftwood, Texas ranch and its owner Reed Burns.

Thank you for all the adventures Charro Ranch, I love you so much xx

I love you so much

 

I’m 50!

birthday

I recall with a pang in my breath the times my mother mentioned Christmas was not the same without her mother. I barely flinched, I may have flashed an eye to meet hers, but rarely did I extend compassion to my mom when she spoke of such things. More than likely I returned to my own desperate thoughts of yet another devoid holiday season.

I recently realized I was on that same self-inflicted, torturous path, even though I’m a long ways from home. My mom has been gone for almost three years and so far this “joyful” season was kicking my ass. I stood last week in the center of San Miguel as the decorations went up. Mom would have liked that, I said under my breath, as I turned and walked flatly away. It’s just weird without her.

I still reach for the phone most Sundays to call her; it’s become my missing limb with it’s phantom feelings; she’s not there. My brothers are not speaking to me, most of my family is dead or very distant, and I forgot to have a daughter who will hold my hand as I lay dying. The world has gone crazy-violent, the Republicans are hell-bent on destroying any shred of decency remaining in my country, and chemicals, pollutants and plastics are choking the earth to death. Whoa is me, this is all made a just tad worse by the fact that I am alone once again, ooooooh whoa is me.

I tumbled into a dark rabbit hole for a number of days, sad and weepy, deep in the clutches of grief. It has turned cold in Central Mexico, so I crawled under a mountain of blankets and stayed there; highly unusual for me. I’ve orchestrated this highly solitary life and it is no longer working for me. And oooohhhhh my gawd, my birthday, the big FIVE-O is approaching, aaah boy, hand me another hanky.

Sunday morning I awoke with tears streaming down my cheeks, but everything felt different. I could see colorful, brilliant, twirling lights in the corners of my eyes; something I used to see quite often as a kid, but not so much as an adult. I used to called these lights “fairies”, although I really have no clue. They do however, make me feel better; they generate heat within. I stood up and noticed things looked brighter, so I karate chopped my way out of my bedroom, “I live in Saint Michael’s town and I have a bazillion things to be grateful for, just LOOK at how well I can karate chop my way around the house!!” I got dressed and ran down the hill to dance class; I felt a pep in my step and was eager to move. My eyes were full from the idea of tears, as I glanced at some new and familiar faces in Sunday’s ecstatic dance class. The song, “Hallelujah” came on. It poured over me like a waterfall.

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Yes, I’m going to be fifty years old and how fucking amazing is it that I am still alive?!? How tremendous is it that I am dancing like a champ in the ballet room of Bellas Artes, in the middle of Mexico!?!?!? And hallelujah to be free of a relationship that has been wearing me down ever since it started?!?! I love the cows of Rancho Santo Niño! I love my strong legs! I love my jibbly belly! I love my dog! I love Mexico! I love the United States! I love Donald Trump! I love my artwork! I love my energy!!

Uhhhh ok I would love for Donald Trump to shut his racist cake hole and go away forever. This is where delusion and optimism come in handy.

On and on I pranced, HALLELUJAH my forties are over! I hid out for so many of them; I tried so hard to be invisible, but nothing worked. I hated myself and wished I were dead. The gravity of these sentiments is not lost on me, ever; it wakes me in the wee hours of the night, but throughout the years, I honestly thought I was quite deficient. I was always buzzing in a quiet desperation to find a cure outside myself, but in the meantime I distracted myself with a number of mind-numbing pacifiers because — well, because get me out of this pain now.

I struggled over a lot of things my forties. I felt awful about a marriage to a man I should not have married. We liked each other a lot, we still do, but we never once worked as a couple, and so I strayed, before we divorced. I was wracked with guilt, angry too. I was a failure. I crawled back to Illinois with my tail between my legs and worked for awful people because they helped punish me when I fell short. I didn’t care about my future, I didn’t want to travel, I didn’t want to learn anything new, I had zero interest in any long term goals. I deserved no happiness.

I hope it’s not too late.

Then my mom got sick and needed me. She was going down for the count and reached for my hand like never before. She apologized to me. She told me she was very sorry she had not been nicer to me and had deep regrets. “I wish I had been nicer to you Meag.”

With those words, my mom healed a thousand and one wounds; I can picture myself falling slow-motion backwards through a time warp as these words penetrate. My focus went from staring deep inside my jagged soul, to turning around and looking at the horizon out in front of me, “There it is, my death, over there towards the horizon. I better live the best damn life I can possibly live before I reach my horizon.”

It’s true, I fell into a rabbit hole, what with the coming holidays, my approaching half-century birthday, the holidays without my mom nor family, and dang I forgot to have a kid, and well, why not have another holiday as a singleton…. oy vey, the grief is huge.

Although, none of this matters if I slather on the right combination of denial, delusion and optimism, because I have the greatest gift inside my heart; my mom’s blessings.

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She set me free and I will be forever grateful, even if she did wait until her deathbed — but oh my she finished strong. It’s time to get busy living or get busy dying, as they say in prison. Don’t forget the denial — fake it til I make it is in full swing right now.

San Miguel de Allende is a lot of things, and it is also a city full of women who have come to re-invent themselves after the divorce, the retirement, the breakup, the failure, the success; this path has been blazed many times, but never duplicated. I am in the right place, at the right time, at the right age.

So let’s dance…

Thank you Fairies!

Thanks Ma!
Love you like a diamond! xx

Happy Birthday to my brothers Sean & Kevin too, I love you both wherever you are! xx

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What is a Modern Farmer

Two years ago, I was hit with a powerful waterfall of emotions and tears as I blurted out I wanted to be a Modern Farmer, in the last hour of the last day of a Sonia Choquette six-sensory workshop. A Modern Farmer, what the heck does that mean?!! Aside from the magazine of the same name, I was very unclear about where this explosion of feelings came from, and laughed and scoffed the entire way home, no way could I be a modern farmer, oh the audacity!

Truth be told, once I uttered those words, I felt as if I had been hit by lightning; the spark had been lit but I had no idea what to do with it. A modern farmer, you say!? Oh stop.

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Moments after declaring my Modern Farming ambitions

I did spend the first few years of my life on a dairy farm in Huntley, Illinois, although I have little-to-no-memory of it. But now that both my parents were dead, the pull to be in the country was strong, much to my chagrin. I fought it, dug my heels in, as I really believed I was supposed to be in Chicago. I was a Big City Gal, in fact, I was afraid of the country and all its creatures that go boo in the night; the wide open spaces made me terribly nervous. Give me a deserted city street at midnight any time over a quiet country, star-lit night. Once while house-sitting for my brother and his wife in Hebron, Illinois, I called 911 because I heard noises and was certain I was about to be terrorized. After a brief inspection, the policemen said to me, “do you realize that’s the wind?”

I called the cops on the wind.

There had been such tremendous and rapid loss at this point in my life; jobs, addresses, jewelry, my truck — my mom — and through all this I could feel the magnetic pull back to the country. Or maybe it was fear? Or, I know, it was shame, because how embarrassing to lose my everything, so why not run to the country with my tail between my legs? And what was I supposed to do, pray tell, become a tomato farmer? Can I support myself on tomatoes? Maybe a sprout farmer? My track record with plants has never been great and now I think I can be a sprout farmer? Fat Chance. I may have been sitting squarely in the farmlands of Northern Illinois-Southern Wisconsin, but I had a snowball’s chance in hell to become a farmer, modern or old-timey, at this point.

I filed the day dream away and continued my desperate search of WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH MY LIFE?!

Days after Sonia’s workshop, it was Thanksgiving, and thanks to a wonderful invite from my generous ex-husband, Reed, I made my way back to San Miguel de Allende and then to Austin, which I now call home. I quickly forgot all about my farming declaration and moved on to the task of cleaning up the wreckage from my past. I was a fairly miserable girl when I was married to Reed and had felt terribly guilty about how our marriage ended. It ended badly. Certainly not the worst divorce in the world, but I never got over the guilt for my bad behavior and selfish ways. The years I lived in Illinois after the divorce were one big alcohol-fueled guilt trip. This was my opportunity to make amends for my harmful behavior.

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Whether he would agree or not, I believe I have made amends to the best of my abilities, first and foremost by being kind to the deserving Reed, and then by trying to be there in ways I had not been in the past. Not everyone gets a shot at this, nor would many want one, and even though it’s been messy and painful all over again, I am super-grateful I had this opportunity to make right a few of my wrongs. This has helped me to grow up. I like growing up, it feels good.

In early August of this year, after returning once again to San Miguel, I overheard Reed on the phone making a deal to sell his Mexican cows to a factory farm in Northern Mexico. Wait, wait, whoa, whoa WHAT?! I said as he hung up the phone.

Reed purchased his ranch in Dolores Hidalgo after we married in 2005; there were little or few cattle when he purchased it, and he spent the past 10 years adding to and cleaning up the breed of Limousin cattle to create a fine, handsome, beautiful breed of cattle; in addition to drilling for water and creating a majestic, sprawling, lush, 250-hectare Guanajuato rancho. The sound of the wind is amazing out here; I would never call the cops on it.

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Majestic Rancho Santo Niño

Given my recent experience with a thyroid condition and the need to eat paleo, yet finding little-to-no resources for grass-fed beef in San Miguel de Allende, I chimed in with, “we need grass-fed beef right here in San Miguel and that’s what you have. Why don’t we make meat right here instead of shipping them off to a feed lot, where the cows are mostly wanted only for their arrachera?” Reed responded, “If you can find someone to process the cows, you can have some cows.”

The next day I was at Via Organica, aka, Central Mexico’s Whole Foods, and within two weeks, the team was assembled to produce grass-fed beef.

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The handsome Limousin cattle of Rancho Santo Niño

And so began Rancho Santo Niño.

I had spent the past year living with the cows at Reed’s ranch in Texas; I practiced reiki on them, played crystal bowls for them, and especially loved watching the Texas sunsets with them within an earshot. I loved those cows and had (have) great regard for them. Reed says, “cows are dumb.” I say no they are not! They are amazing mothers and any creature that is a wonderful mother is not dumb.

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Playing the crystal bowls off the back of the pick-up for the Texas cows

While I have great respect for the cows and their place in the world, I do know why these cows are here. They are fuel for the people. Oh but how to get them to the people?!

I think factory farming is an unspeakable, horrible injustice to all the animals churned out through them, in turn turning out sick food; to which some people have responded, yeah but you kill the cows too! This is true, but how the cows are treated until it is their time to become fuel for the people is where I want to do it different. I see the hidden videos of how animals are slaughtered; it bothers me tremendously as well. Have you see the Temple Grandin’s movie? She understood this on an entirely different level.

The hard-working cattle ranchers out there producing responsibly raised grass-fed beef are my inspiration, and I don’t pretend for one moment to be a fraction of a rancher, nor skilled tradesperson that they are, but I have learned amazing things through them and with my own experience of working with the ranchers and butchers of Dolores Hidalgo. I have thrown my hat in the ring of producing responsibly-raised grass-fed beef and this makes me incredibly proud and I am excited as I forge ahead and learn new things everyday. I am in on every step of this process and believe it has made me a kinder person, a more mindful person and the gratitude I feel each day when I drink my bone broth is a feeling I don’t want to shake anytime soon.

Producing grass-fed beef been a profound experience thus far.

Cattle ranching done right can save the world’s global warming demise, so says Allan Savory; his TED Talk is extremely moving and inspiring.

Oh and that declaration I made two years ago? I suppose it came true…

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Remember that time my dog was kidnapped in Mexico?

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Friday evening, 7:30pm, I slipped into a bit of a staring jag after I paid for the piece of cake at Café Rama. A middle-aged Mexican couple caught my attention, eating their dinner at a small, window-side table. They were leaning in towards each other as she chatted a mile a minute, both eating their dinner, which is what caught my eye.  The kicker was that the woman was engaged in an enlightening conversation on her phone, tucked under her chin, as she ate her dinner looking straight through her husband. “How odd,” I mumbled as I gazed at them both.  “Aqui tienes,” the joven behind the counter handed me a piece of carrot cake and out the door I went.

Swooooooosh, I stepped into slow motion as my head spun around. I looked to my right, I looked to my left, Henry was not near the door, where I had left him moments ago. Just as I’ve done a million times over the years. Henry isn’t a roamer, he doesn’t trot away, he never leaves my side, well, not since I had him neutered in 1987 –errr 2004. He’s a very well-behahaved dog and he’s also 13 years old, so he’s in no hurry, ever.  I stood there in a stupor; my fever was still high and I really was in no shape to be out in public; I had been battling the worst flu of my life all week, and in fact this trip out was to finally buy some drugs at the farmacia because I could take the pain no longer. My thinking was fuzzy. “Where did I leave him?” I spun around in a circle. I went back inside and asked if they saw my dog. “Yes, we allow dogs, he’s probably here.” I took a spin around the place, Henry was not inside, which I knew because Henry doesn’t go anywhere without asking me. I was speechless.

This is not a busy street, in fact it was about two blocks away from home. I went up one block and two mariachi fellas were practicing on a bench. “Have you seen a little white dog run by here, wearing a leash?” “No, no ma’am.” I went to the other side of the block where a family had pulled their truck over to sell their hand-carved wood headboards, “did you see a little white dog walk by here, wearing a leash?” No, no dog.

Henry had vanished.

I was in shock when I arrived back home a few minutes later and asked Reed if Henry had arrived before me, “What? No, Henry’s not here.” Holy crap. Henry was dognapped!

Dognapping is big, easy money in Mexico; our little pampered pooches are a big bullseye for easy money to desperate thieves. They know all they have to do is swipe a dog, keep it for a few days for panic to surge, call for ransom, then arrange a hand off.

The first thing I did on this rainy Friday night was make a sign to post in Facebook. Then I posted the sign in Adopciones Perrunas San Miguel de Allende and Rescue San Miguel: Saving Lives One Dog at a Time. It was a Friday night, so there was not much else I could do. Except worry. And toss around all night.

Were they being mean to him? Was he out in the rain? Will they feed him? Was a angry dog going to beat him up? Or rape him? All my fears became louder and louder as the weekend inched by. This is a nasty little crime, yet don’t expect any help from the police; there are actual people being kidnapped all over this country for Pete’s Sake. Ahhh, but the social networks are alive and kicking, and many of my friends and acquaintances shared the message of the missing Henry in no time. How grateful I am for lightning-fast stretches of the social networks. I met some new friends along the way too!

And now, the waiting game. A little time needs to pass; the panic needs to surge. This is Mexican time and do NOT try to rush it.

Saturday morning I put signs up all over town and placed an ad at the radio station. The entire town listens to the local radio station, so when you lose anything or need to make an announcement, the radio station is where you go. I spent the rest of the weekend pacing and trying to recover from the flu; it didn’t work out so well because I was a runny, sneezy, teary mess. Sunday arrived with no new news, except my panic was ramping up.

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Oye Hark! The call came in around 3pm Sunday afternoon; the woman had Henry, wanted to know how much was the ransom, and to let us know we had to pay for her taxi to return the dog. (grrrrrrrr)

All Told:

$35              Print a copy of the original sign
$20              Make copies for distribution in Centro
$480           XESQ Radio San Miguel ad ($120 per announcement; I ran 4 ads)
$1,500        Ransom, puta madres!
$60             Taxi for Coyote (this was when I wanted to slap her, the nerve)

$2,051       Mexican Pesos
$120          US Dollars

Although it only cost roughly $120 to get Henry home, it was a very stressful and long weekend of worrying about his safety and whereabouts. Mexico has a way of reminding you who is in charge and it is never you, no matter what measures, nor precautions you take. The very legs of this wild-west country are built on corruption, yet for the most part, I admire Mexico and am calling it my home, with Reed, for now. Henry’s dognapping was a reminder not get too comfortable, because Mexico will always pull the rug our from under you. Donnie Trump may want to watch his back because the country also has ways of exacting revenge that I wouldn’t even wish on that baffoon.

People move here because of a lack of rules (sure, there are other reasons), but there’s a price for that lack of structure, as in things that disappear in the middle of the afternoon. And then I find myself questioning whether or not I’m a fit dog parent, onto shaming myself for ignoring him all those times I went out carousing and left him on his own. Brutal. Henry didn’t reminisce about any of this nonsense; he, naturally, was THRILLED to see me when he arrived home

It’s no scene from Law & Order, but the moment Henry was returned by the Coyote:

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It was a huge lesson in the importance of being aware at all times, something I take great pride in, as I am a big proponent of strengthening my six senses. This particular day was especially off for me because all of my senses were compromised due to the flu; my throat was super-swollen, nose plugged, eyes watering, ears jammed, skin crawling; my 6th sense was practically DOA, and yet Mexico chose to kick me when I was down, as it does. Still, awareness.

While in the restaurant, I focused on the odd couple and how they were so intently ignoring each other, yet had I expanded my focus just outside the window behind them, perhaps I could have seen when Henry’s Captor made the dastardly move. Or not.

Aside from appearing a bit beat and dirty, Henry was the same Happy Little Neurotic Guy, although he did let me hold him a bit longer than usual. I’m getting back on my feet after this bout of flu (or whatever it is, Mexico) and will continue to ask of myself the following, “eyes-see, ears-hear, nose-smell, skin-feel, aura-interact.”

Gotta stay sharp! xx

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Drift Out of Driftwood

dirty meag

This week I am closing up life at the ranch and joining Reed in San Miguel de Allende for the next few weeks. It’s hot as a witch’s breath here in Austin; everything’s gone and dried up and blowing in the dust. I hear cackles in the wind, it’s that hot.

I’m so very happy to be heading down south; when the news sank in, my spirit shot up about three stories high. My time in Central Texas has not been easy, oh but it has been highly educational.

It’s been challenging to find work in and around Austin, THE hottest, hippest city in America. Countless interviews later, I was probably giving off a much bigger vibe of “no, I really don’t want to work for your company” than their vibe of “now wait, who are you?” After years of working for companies I could not be more opposed to, I find it difficult to pretend to be excited about someone else’s company. Throughout many of the interviews, I could see exactly why I would leave, or more specifically, why they wouldn’t ask me to join. I have had small project work here and there, but mostly I have spent a heck of a lot of time expanding my repertoire of energy, energy, energy, gimme more of that arty-energy-jui-jui-jui.

My fear of failing after being fired a handful of times a few short years ago has had a fierce grip on me, almost smothering at times, but my backbone has returned and I’m ready to get forward move ahead. I failed at being able to succeed in a corporate job; I never liked it, but that’s what I was supposed to do, right? My mom’s voice still haunts me, “for crying out loud Meag, why can’t you just keep your mouth shut?”. This internal struggle has led me to work for some terrible people at some awful companies and guess what? I could not keep my mouth shut and was eventually shown the door.

My inner conflicts reflected as all my outer struggles. I have been in my way forever.

Another challenge to finding work was “being so far away from Austin” in Driftwood, Texas, a small po-dunk Texas Hill Country town, about 22 miles southwest of Austin. Yes, TWENTY-TWO miles, not TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY-TWO miles. Driftwood truly has a gritty feel of the wild, wild West; it’s rugged and quiet, hot and empty — for now, the real estate wars are heating up all across Hays County. The Salt Lick BBQ is here and that’s a huge claim to fame for Texas BBQ fans, but there is little else besides ranching, cowboying, and stealing water. Reed’s family has had property here for a number of years, so I have had the privilege of living on a gorgeous National Park, in a state with very little national parks. I have tremendously enjoyed my ranch explorations with Dito Bandito at my side, Henry in the car; I will always think fondly of this little internet-providerless town, ideally from afar.

You get dirty when you live in Driftwood, it comes with the territory and the terrifying shower I avoid like the plague. Here, I have lived precariously close to scorpions, spiders, snakes, fire ants, lobsters, chiggers, kissing bugs, cows, wasps, mean donkeys, mean HORSES, oh and an angry Reed Burns, but the latter has started to mellow as he ages like a fine wine, errr rather a full-bodied, potent, añejo tequila. We have had a rough road together, Reed and I, but we’ve also made great strides as we break down our walls — huge graffiti-filled walls from the early days of our spontaneous, mostly reckless, tequila-fueled, rowdy marriage. I am excited to meet Reed; he’s in his element in Mexico and it is something to behold, when he holds his court.

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In early 2001, I moved to San Miguel de Allende to teach Gabrielle Roth’s 5 Rhythms dance class and develop my artistic talent. However, in reality, after 10+ years of sobriety, I decided to drink the vino tintos and life took a turn towards a very different path than I had envisioned. It wasn’t awful, but sometimes it was painfully awful. I certainly had some glorious times, but many of my demons came back to haunt, they took a hold and directed my life for a number of years and through a number of scenarios. I eventually made my way back to Chicago after our divorce and I spent the next few years directionless and heart broken.

I am not these things anymore; my heart is alive and looking straight ahead. I take my dedication to all-things-energy very seriously and have experienced some tremendous healing as of late. I was recently attuned in Reiki Level II in Wimberly with Melissa Kleen; I am very aware of the strengthening eyeballs in the palms of my hands. An intensely powerful shamanic surgery with a clairaudient shaman healer has created new pathways in and around my heart during a mind-expanding experience. A traditional cacao ceremony has elevated my heart and I can’t stop giggling, nor crying tears of joy, for that matter — it has also changed my approach to my art and how I see the world. An autoimmune friendly approach to eating has relieved some long-time anxieties and discomfort, in addition to helping me drop some weight I had been struggling with. Curious to see how I will fare when face-to-face with the delicious street tacos of Guanajuato olé!

—> I am totally ready to get to work — I need to get to work.

ANDALE! Nos vemos!! Saying adios to my NIA Dance pals, until next time xx

New Energy in 15, walking the labyrinth

Have you ever experienced the magic of a labyrinth?

Being from Chicago and having travelled a bit in Europe, I have seen my fair share of labyrinths, even enjoyed the movie, but honestly, I never paid them much mind. They certainly are pretty. I used to walk one during lunch breaks when I worked near Saint James Episcopal at Huron & State in Chicago, but I probably stood there smoking butts on most days, pondering my daily dilemma.

These days labyrinths have taken on a much deeper meaning, other than wrecking the depths of my lungs thankfully; they have become a place of revitalization. Walking a labyrinth is an opportunity to experience a divine imprint through a walking meditation, a different manner of praying. I like different manners of praying. While I appreciate mediation and continue to explore the hidden nuggets found within, I’m always anxious to get my butt up off the floor, preferring to walk, dance, hop, skip, jump as I strengthen my third eye. It works for me and through this, I discovered the magic of the labyrinth.

The labyrinth is an archetype in the human mind and represents the many twists and turns we can take to arrive somewhere — anywhere in life. “SOLVITAR AMBULANDO.” IT IS SOLVED BY WALKING says the sign over the labyrinth at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Austin. Labyrinth patterns are universal, have only one path and there are no tricks, nor dead ends. Many times my thoughts are chattering away in my head as I begin to walk, starting from the outside, zig-zagging towards the center, but the experience changed for me when I walked with a group of women on the night of a full moon in Butler Park. It completely altered and lifted my spirit — the moon beams surely helped — and I’ve been a big fan of walking in these magical circles ever since.

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If you would like to find a labyrinth in your area, the World-Wide Labyrinth Locator is shock full of information and will point you in the right direction. If you have never tried it, I would suggest walking a labyrinth with a group of people because the opportunity, for me, represents life. Often times churches will offer a free monthly labyrinth walk; I like free.

The labyrinth walk is a chance to see how I navigate around and through others. Do I dance smoothly or dart sharply with my world, what are my thoughts telling me? What makes me hesitate? I have always gone to great lengths to avoid people throughout my life, but I’m changing my tune — it’s now or never. This sacred map is teaching me things.

If anything, it’s a wonderful bump to disengage from the day, a chance to re-charge and think about love. Wait. Love? Love won big today with the Supreme Court’s decision to allow same-sex marriage across the entire damn country, HOORAY! Here come the haters but Welcome to 2015, America!

Ooooh I’m looking for clues… maybe then I won’t be so frightened by the sound of a telephone, oh yeah…. xx

Cries from the Buddha Belly

This past week was my second week of an intense daily qi gong practice called “Jingui Golden Shield,” and this was also the week that the levy broke. The beginner instruction for this ancient form of qi gong involved slapping my bare stomach in key meridian points for several minutes in succession, in order to awaken the chi (qi, prana, holy spirit, life force energy, call it what you will) to quickly develop the human energy body for improved health.

Yes, it hurts to slap the belly with the bare hands. So what, I said.

On about the 12th day, tears started to fall as I reached the end of my lesson, right before I was to hit the floor and apply the ancient Chinese tincture to my red-hot pink belly. My instructor suggested I stay ahead of the slapping; in fact it should be a hit and not a slap, and don’t take it too far — but don’t be numb to it. It should keep me awake. I tried to find that spot that kept me awake; I could not. The tears continued as I made my way home. I kept on crying; the tears fell throughout the day and night, when I was alone and when I was with others. ugh.

You know that crying that comes from super-deep within the lungs and goes on forever with the mouth agape, yet no sound is produced? I had time to wonder if I would ever breathe again, or if it would ever stop. That kinda crying. Buddha Belly tears, but fuck that, I was not in search of a zen-like state-of-being, I was cracking some buried egg wide open all over the place, and the oozing seemed to have no end in sight. It was the most exhausting cry I ever cried.

In some recent blood tests, I learned I have a borderline thyroid condition that does not yet warrant medication, but now is the time to repair current damage and prevent future injury. My research into the world of autoimmune disorders and conditions has begun. Whoa Nelly I had no idea!

I read a new book written by Austin doctor, Dr. Amy Myers, called “The Autoimmune Solution” and could not believe how much sense this book made to me. I have been denying symptoms of my autoimmune disorder for years, but did not even realize it; I just thought I lacked the discipline and motivation to achieve my goals in life, although I have always remained busy. In the past six month, my symptoms have worsened; weight gain, chronic fatigue, digestive disorders, muscle soreness and brain fog.

I continue to exercise quite a bit and assumed I was always sore because of it, but now I wonder. I exercise because I worry I’m getting fat and old, although I do really enjoy being active and continue to have ambitious future goals. The worry makes my stomach upset after eating a very small amount. I sometimes forget what I am doing. The movie “Still Alice” was scary to watch. We all forget, right? I cry A LOT. My Chinese doctor gets a little uncomfortable when he sees me. I have to lay down after each meal I eat, even if I just slept 9 hours and this “laziness” drives me bat-shit crazy. It’s all a vicious cycle and this book goes into great detail about our current state of gluten and how it’s newly-mass-manufactured evil properties are wiping the human race right off the planet. Well she doesn’t exactly say that, but it does not look good for the world and all it’s millions of highly-processed gluten-filled products we find ourselves surrounded by.

I have been tremendously stressed over the past few years and my life has yet to settle down, but I never considered any lasting physical effect from any of this…. until now. Now it’s staring right at me in the mirror and I need to make some enormous changes.

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I have stopped working out every day; I stepped away from the qi gong classes. I have cried a river of tears and I’m not even sure why, except it sure does feel good when it’s over. I am going to do the Myers Way Program because I want to feel as good as I can for the rest of my days. I have suspected sugar and bread and whatnot for months and months and now my exhausted self is ready to take this leap of faith.

Pass the hankies xx

 

Andale Austin

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I have been in Texas for just over a year and in the past few weeks — no, days really, it has truly begun to feel like home. I am feeling so much support in this cradle in the middle of Texas, I find myself caught off guard and tingly-all-over by the kindness of strangers and not-so-strangers that have helped me get acclimated in my new hometown.

After several months of travelling and setting up shop on the ranch, I have turned my focus to getting into the groove in Austin. I’m back at Square One in that I need to get a job, an address, a routine… and it’s finally starting to happen. I know what I want and now it’s time for the legwork. I have found some work; it is not my dream work, but it is putting me out in front of people, which is a great start. I am highly animated these days and eager to work with others. One foot in front of the other.

Austin is a very fast moving city; hottest city in America, some would say. The recent cover of Austin Monthly magazine quoted 158 people are moving to Austin EVERY DAY. That’s a solid stream of buses dropping off musicians everyday at the Greyhound station.

New friends, YaY!

Austin’s NIA dance community has been a great source of support; it’s teeming with women who are excited about life, love to shake their moneymaker and aren’t afraid to let it all hang out. Their stories are extraordinary and many times moving, and I’m thrilled to have found this support as a new whitebelt teacher and as a new citizen of Austin. Many of these women are undergoing profound personal transformation and have been a great source of comfort as I go through my own. Plus we spontaneously break out in dance when out in public.

There’s something very delightful about not caring if you cause a stir –when stirred properly.

Meetup.com has been a great resource to meet new people and learn of new ideas; I attend about four meetup groups on a regular basis and the momentum is building. One is an art and technology meetup with it’s focus on creating a community in Austin for new digital artists; I volunteered to be the gatekeeper of information and gather everyone’s name and interests. I even presented my #PicTweetArt and #NewEnergyin15 at the last meetup! It was a bit of a departure from the amazing new media presentations that were being highlighted, but I think it was all very well-received. There were LOLs :D. I joined the group to discover new ideas in video and to meet some interesting people.

The artistic sparks are flying, she said with a cheese-eatin’ grin!

I am a member of a Women’s Shaman Circle; the wisdom that’s being shared within this sacred circle has altered my life forever. I am honored to be a part of such a experienced and educated circle of women.

Women helping women. SHAZAM.

I’m also a new member in a specialized qi gong training called Jingui Golden Shield. It is a rare Temple Style of qi gong designed to achieve super health by developing the human energy body very quickly. I discovered this through my Chinese doctor and acupuncturist, Dr. Zhang, who diagnosed me with a deficient spleen a few weeks ago. We are working on this, but basically it’s the early stages of a thyroid condition, and it is my goal to reverse this condition NOW before a Western doctor prescribes daily pharmaceuticals.

Nooooo pills for me.

A worrisome mind, my age and irregular eating patterns are probably to thank — oh and the stress of absolutely everything changing in my life.

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I am turning 50 this year and this health condition has added an extra 10 pounds around my belly. It freaked me out — well hell’s bells it still freaks me out, because it gets in my way and I want it gone. Given the amount of energy work I do in addition to biking, hiking, dancing, yoga-ing, qi gong-ing and walking, it drives me craaaaaaazy that I have this new blob that just won’t budge. Then I read a book called “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. I’m remarkably embarrassed I’ve had the audacity to cry about a little midlife weight gain.

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I have the privilege of being alive and living pretty well for half a century. I digress. This profoundly moving book about surviving a Nazi prison camp put gratitude in perspective for me in a manner I shan’t easily forget.

Profound gratitude.

My body can still move in amazing ways. I have great new friends I can lean on. I am networking. I’ve always hated networking! I love, love, love learning about energy and sharing it. I am branding and self-promoting, gaaaaa the dreaded self-marketing. I am in Austin, f*cking Texas, the hottest city in America and the good vibes are growing. I have a tremendous friend and confidant in Reed Burns. Sure it’s terrifying to be starting all over, but I am totally grateful for this life.

I am scrappy and I live in America — and if there’s one thing America loves besides Cheezwhiz, it’s scrappiness.

ANDALE TEXAS!

 

Adios Dirty Bird!

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Once, many years ago, when I returned home from Mexico, my mom told me I looked dirty and weathered….. and I was deeply offended. Even shed some tears. Today, as I prepare to head to Texas after a winter in Mexico, I laugh because I AM dirty. And I love it!

I’ve got the dirt and dust under my fingernails and the sand from the ocean lines the bottom of my suitcases. I haven’t really done my hair since I was in America, and although I got dolled up a few times while I was here, for the most part, I rolled out of bed and galloped off to yoga or t’ai chi, and then began my chores upon returning home.

I like getting dirty, it feels good. Keeps me young 😀

It’s a dirty I am grateful for because it has taught me things and brought new experiences. Whether I was climbing the mountains to greet the full moon, stretching in the morning sun while standing in the ocean’s edge, eating street tacos with salsa running down my arm or riding in the back of a pickup to get out to the country, I have enjoyed my time in San Miguel de Allende, Taxco, Mexico DF, Puerto Vallarta and Bucerias tremendously!

Maybe I have always been too sensitive, this is probably true. I am dirty and weathered and it feels great. I would not be offended by my mom’s words today.

This Dirty Bird is ready to go home, and is profoundly grateful to Mexico for it’s lessons. ANDALE get me home to that bath tub so I can scrub my weathered, sun-kissed face!

And aw geez I gotta get to work! Adios Birdies! xx

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Adios Birdy! Weasel too!

 

Swimming through Fear

I wasn’t always afraid of the water, I grew up in Crystal Lake, Illinois, swimming in the crystal clear water and other area lakes at every opportunity and truly loved being a mermaid. But then came the dawn of JAWS and my swimming career was effectively halted. I remember trying to drown out my fears by singing to myself as I swam, in an attempt to not think about that shark and it’s reign of terror, but I sank in the fear of it all. One last swim in Crystal Lake at summer’s end, a snapping turtle poked it’s head up in front of mine and snapped at me — it was officially over. More sea-terror movies were rolled out, which effectively sealed the deal: Barracuda, Piranha, JAWS 2, JAWS 3, JAWS 4 (*cough*), Creatures, Tentacles, Titanic, ETC., I became content to stroll along the shores, even in the most docile of waters. The fear was big and silent and I gave into it.

Because if I swam, it would look like this:
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I sometimes get a little embarrassed that so much of my life became unhinged (and is still unhinging) after my mom’s death. I hear a voice back there “yeah get over it already, it’s been two years now, do your thing whatever, stop talking about it!”

I understand grief knows no bounds, yet why am I quick to scrutinize and criticize myself when I find myself still grappling with it? Oy, the personal pangs that tug at me in the wee hours of the night when no one is looking, oy oy oy.

It’s true, I still struggle with grief and the confusion from everything that is now different in my life — I am mostly okay with my evolution, but some confusion remains. I’m certain many of these changes were inevitable because of my age ta boot; as I approach 50, I understand with more compassion than ever that many women simply must re-invent, re-discover or re-up, or literally lose themselves. I have found many of Dr. Christiane Northrup‘s books and workshops have helped me sort my way through this with better clarity and assurance I’m not losing my marbles. My mom’s death was perhaps the the dime I turned on, bringing with it new opportunities and exciting adventures, although — in hindsight — I can see it was going to happen no matter what. I was ready to shed my skin.

On Mother’s Day, 2013, I put my mom’s ashes in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin on a brutally cold and windy May day. Her ashes flew up and around me like a tornado before they landed in the lake. It was surreal, for real. I was surprised to learn there’s a boat service available for people to put ashes in the lake, and I sometimes wonder how many people are in that lake?? Ashes-to-ashes, I don’t really care, but I do like that my mom is there. She wanted to be in Green Bay because of the Packers and I decided that was too far; I wanted to keep an eye on her in Lake Geneva. So began my frequent visits to the lake.

There is an amazing 22-mile walking path around the entire lake and as the cold spring turned to summer, I began to sink my toes into the water. And then I dangled my legs and stared deeply at the water. One day I jumped in and cried. This happened several times. I had lost so much… jobs, addresses, people, things… it was terribly scary because I had no idea how I would climb out of this hole, but I had faith and this lake helped me. I felt tingly energy all around me and something about my existence had been elevated — it was hard to explain, but everything was different. By mid-summer, I was helping myself to absent-summer-resident’s personal boat docks and full-on jumping into the cool waters of Lake Geneva and feeling the calmest I had ever felt in my life.

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The summer of 2013 was an amazing, amazing summer and I am forever be grateful for all of it’s lessons.

I left Illinois mid-November of that year and life became very, very different. I had made a promise to myself that the rest of my life would be “magical”,  although I wasn’t even sure what that meant, except that it was fodder for jokes — and I love good jokes. Guess what? My life has become magical in many ways, and while there are still mundane and challenging things about it as there should be, I am totally enjoying what my life has become. Call it magical or intentional, I love they way I feel in my skin these days. I miss the Midwest and my days in Lake Geneva — Chicago too, but life has carried on, as it should, and my dreams keep me close to it all. Someday I will be back.

Until then…

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Buenas Dias de Bucerias!

I am having the good fortune of spending this winter in Mexico with Reed; first at the house in San Miguel de Allende, and then traveling through Central Mexico while he attends to business. Situated in a lovely situation here in Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico, this past weekend we made plans to spend the day on a boat with Chica Locca Tours that promised whale watching, water activities, food and drink, snorkeling, cave diving; a day out at sea on a very comfortable boat. This group completely delivered and we had an amazing, amazing day. Well I did, for sure.

My fear of open water is still pretty HUGE and when we arrived off the Marieta Islands (“there’s only one way to get there, and that’s to swim for it!“), it was up to us to gear up and swim to the island, where the fun would continue. I did not read this bit in the brochure and my heart sank a mile or two when this was mentioned. I put the fins and snorkeling gear on and became a blubbering, quivering lip awash in a terrifying wave of fear. Everyone was jumping in the water and I stood at the edge of the boat, trembling — NO I could not do this. It was too far away and it was OPEN WATER for Christ’s Sake and surely I would be eaten alive by some monsterous sea creature before I hit the island. This was the OCEAN, did they not realize??! I whelped to the guys I could not do it, no way, my heart was going to explode out of my chest and I was not strong enough. I waddled to the back of the boat to take off my gear and pout it out.

I looked over to the ladder on the side of the boat and said, “fuck it, I will hate myself if I don’t do this.” With that, I jumped into the terrifying (not!) waters and swam to the island. Holy Moley it was gorgeous!

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It was a gooooooooooooorgeous adventure and I am sooooooooooo glad I jumped in! We swam to the island and explored the caves and tunnels and dark holes that I thought for sure electric eels lived in and were waiting inside to kill me or eat me and guess what? They were no electric eels waiting in darkness to kill me nor eat me because they couldn’t care less about me! I was the happiest clam in the ocean this day!

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After this awesome adventure on Gilligan’s Island, it was time to swim back to the boat. Oh shit….. who moved the boat soooooooooo far away?? It’s even farther away now because some dumb law says it can’t be too close to the island. I was never going to make it and oh my gawd I can’t breathe and so why not kick wildly and claw at the water as if there’s a magic rope to lead me home …

I totally panicked and gasped for air as I attempted to swim for several minutes; holy Mackerel I was scared! Wait. Stop it Meag!

I put my goggles on and looked down into the water and saw holy mackerels but no sharks. I knew I had to stop this panicking and rolled onto my back and looked up at the sky. I needed to breathe more normally and take myself out of the equation. A song came to me that I sang in the temescal a year ago; we sang this as a way to pass the time while sitting in pitch dark, soul-cracking, sweltering heat:

One little, two little, three little Indians
Four little, five little, six little Indians
Seven little, eight little, nine little Indians
Ten little Indian boys.
Ten little, nine little, eight little Indians
Seven little, six little, five little Indians
Four little, three little, two little Indians
One little Indian boy.

Whad’ya know, I made it to the boat safe and sound!

Again, I was the happiest clam in the ocean! I have been walking on my tippy-toes ever since this glorious day, even though every muscle in my body is sore, but it is a good sore, a sore I am grateful for; a soreness that reminds me I swam to the damn boat, RAWR!

I realize there are people in today’s world who are facing much bigger fears and maybe not by choice, but by fire and I by no means intend to compare to anyone’s challenges. This was a first world challenge, for sure. I believe I become a better person, first to myself and then to others, if I take an opportunity to break down any personal barriers that have held me back in life, or have kept me feeling fearful. There is a freedom that has grown within me in the past two years that has altered the course of my life and I, for one, choose to celebrate all of these personal achievements, great and small.

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Sunburnt, sore & smiling :))

xx

 

Broken Hearts Club

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How I lost my lifelong membership to this club….

It occurs somewhere around mid-to-early-January, the drug stores aisles turn to a sea of red hearts, teddy bears and ageless chocolates, buttering us up for the next major holiday, Valentine’s Day. This day that will always undoubtedly prove the currency of my self-worth by the amount of Made-in-China crap purchased for me on this glorious rose-filled day. And oh! I need to make room for all the roses! I have personally always been a huge fan of this mid-winter test of my self-esteem.

*ahem* Noooooooooo, no I have not.

I don’t think I’ve ever had an awesome Valentine’s Day, in fact the only giggle-inducing-memory I have of this day was a first date with a boy in Mill Valley, California and we were at a pizza joynt that was slinging heart-shaped pizzas for the night. When the waiter finally came around to take our order, I began to ask questions and make special requests, à la Meg Ryan from “When Harry Met Sally“. The waiter was not having this on this very busy night and leaned over to be eye-to-eye with me, pointed his finger in my face and said rather sternly, “YOU SAID YOU WERE READY.” I turned beet red and ordered the veggie pizza. I kept my mouth shut… for a little while. The boy and I laughed about that for many months and I still use that line on occasion.

Although I never have been fired in this month — and  I have been fired A LOT, February is the month that my divorce became final several years ago (February 15) and the month my mom passed away (February 13, two years ago). These hits to my heart turned out to be the hits that have helped me to grow up, wake up and move towards becoming the person I always hoped to be. It has been awful, lonely and tremendously sad, but in hindsight, the gift of crawling on my hands-and-knees through my emotional thunderstorms and muck has helped to shape me in the most profound and prolific ways.

I haven’t always been strong enough to weather my emotional storms; as a young woman I chose to drown my sorrows in a torrential downpour of booze and pills, and it truly is not easy for me to admit that on not one but two different occasions, I attempted to end my life with pills because the pain was unbearable — or so it felt. I was begging God to take me and found a way to get there, or perhaps I knew it was just enough to be a seriously loud cry for help. Looking back, both of these experiences seem like two very different yet terrifying out-of-body experiences. Even though I survived these attempts to snub out my life prematurely, I recall being terribly embarrassed that I was still here, oh my, I felt bad that I was still here. After the first time, I spent a few months in a hospital and I honestly loved my time there — my eyes were open for the first time in my life and it was incredible. The second time, my dad had me arrested and I spent time in a jail in Phoenix. Not long, but long enough to make a huge impression.

I think back to the Meagan I was and I can literally cry out loud for her, I was so lost and unclear about everything in my life. Heartbreaking, in a word, for me to think about these parts of my past, but also inspires me to never take a moment for granted. I now literally kiss the ground on occasion because I am so grateful to be here and to be given these opportunities to live life at the top of my lungs. I am still here. This is not lost on me at all.

Throughout my entire  life, I have always thought there was something wrong with me. I was constantly searching for answers and seeking solutions to help me feel better and to feel right in my head. Even with ten years of sobriety, I struggled to feel at peace with myself, although I practiced and studied a number of healing modalities and therapies that for me, never really made much of a dent to lower the noise and restlessness I had in my head. I was always running, always searching, always asking, always researching for something to make me feel better. Nothing worked.

I eventually gave up and settled on living on the fringes once again, when I moved back to Chicago after the divorce. Meh, I didn’t care anymore, I was going to coast this thing out. I had been hiding out my entire life and now it seems that would be my lot in life…. to hide in the shadows and hopefully not be seen.

Two years ago, my mom became drastically sick. Well, she had been sick for years, but did her best to ignore all of it. But now she needed help, it was much larger than her. Everyone was gone, it was just she and I. My mom didn’t really like me to be around; we never did do well in the same room together, and it was not uncommon to go several months without seeing each other, even though we were neighbors. We spoke often and cared for each other deeply, we just knew our limits, mostly. These avoidance tactics went out the window when she got sick and I essentially walked away from my Chicago life when the call came in.

I will never forget the words my mom said to me, even though I brushed them aside at first. Sitting on the edge of her hospital bed, gripping the railings in an attempt to ease her excruciating pain, she turned back slightly to look at me and said, “I was wrong about you, Meag. I’m really sorry I was not nicer to you. I wish I was nicer to you. (lonnnnnnnng pause)  I’m sorry Meag.

Once I recovered from the funeral and whatnot, I awoke to discover that my mom’s words literally words melted a steel cage that had always lived around my heart and my life has since changed in every way possible since her deathbed apology. Well, actually I thought I was having a heart attack and ran to see my doctor, who told me I was trapped in a panic attack. Teh doctor prescribed xanax — noooooooooooo I wanted nothing to do with pills and rejected them. I went to see a naturopathic doctor and set myself off on a very green path that included lots of kale and magnesium to help my cortisol levels. I slept. I wrote. I walked. I did yoga. I cried. I left Chicago for good. I moved into my mom’s empty condo. I woke up.

I feel like a completely different person than I was a two years ago and I am extremely grateful for this completely unexpected gift my mom gave me. It was her love, her broken heart, her choice to unburden her heart, that has forever lightened my heart and turned my life around in the most profound way. I no longer believe there is something wrong with me. I have stopped searching for answers and I literally stopped harassing myself.

I am nice to me. I am nice to others. I like being nice. I can’t believe how good it feels to be nice.

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I have met many women whose mothers have also passed away, who never had an opportunity to make peace with their mom before she left this earth. My heart goes out to these women for the pain I see in their eyes, but then again, I see the pain in many women’s eyes when it comes to their mother’s, alive or not. One universal truth, I have come to discover, is that our always-complicated and deeply profound relationship with our mothers affects every single area of our lives. I am not denying that men aren’t affected by their mothers as well, but I have not walked in their shoes, only my own, and I tend to gravitate towards women who wear their mother on their heart sleeves.

I am very proud to be Jule Francis McGovern Foster and Loren Pries Foster’s daughter, may they both rest in peace. I am no longer in the Broken Hearts Club because of the strength and love I learned from these two hearty souls — and it was no walk in the park with either of them. I now meet the challenges of my life with a full heart and eager curiosity. I take care of my heart, I value it and wow it’s a bit amazing what my happy heart says to me! The noise has been reduced, and I finally hear the wisdom within, wow wow wow wow wow.

I’ve been able to make amends for the mistakes I made in my marriage and I wasn’t sure if I would every have this opportunity. Reed is a huge part of my life once again and what an amazing gift this has been to make peace with him, Texas and Mexico. I no longer have hate in my heart, wow wow wow what a trip.

There is still so much to learn and experience and I am super-excited for this thing called my life.

I am tremendously grateful for all the heartache I have survived in my life, and I can’t believe it’s been two years since my mom flew away. I miss her so xx

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New Energy in 15… 2015!

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I have had a ton of fun creating a series of weekly 15-second videos on Instagram (#newenergyin15), promoting good energy, raising your vibration and just plain feeling better by doing some simple exercises I have learned from my mentors, teachers and practices.  It’s been a mind-and-energy-expanding year for me and I’m really excited to learn more because if there’s one certain thing I’ve come to accept, it’s that the more I know, the less I know — but therein lies my challenge.

I have plans to take my study of energy deeper in the coming new year; by developing a better understanding between my energy and my art through reiki, my drawings, Austin’s NIA dance community, t’ai chi, space clearing, energy medicine, intuition sharpening, meditation (uggggg, still) and how to translate this into a marketing opportunity. The study of energy literally gets me out of bed in the morning and I really have been blessed by seeing many facets of life with new eyes as I dive deeper into vibration and art.

I am so grateful for the lessons and opportunities of 2014 and look to 2015 with eager eyes and an open heart!

Here’s the New Energy in 15 Year in Review, thank you for following along, even if silently. I understand many of you are looking at me sideways these days and I take that as a good sign — I highly endorse flying one’s freak flag freely if it feels right w00000t!

It’s a heckuva lotta videos, take your time lol 😀

1) Brain exercises to break habits in thinking patterns
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2) First unofficial New Energy in 15; Figure 8s!
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3) Qi Gong move to open up the energy channels, called Slapping the Monkey (not really ok really)
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4) My first on the road video from Hot Springs, AR; Get That Beach Ball! A qi gong movement to open up the spine
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5) Ooops a blooper video from when I was at the NIA white belt training in Little Rock, AR and I forgot where I was:
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6) Sun salutations on the Big Dam Bridge in Little Rock. I do this as often as I can; pulling up the earth’s energy into my legs and body makes such a difference throughout the day
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7) The Hot Air Balloon Festival in Snowmass, Colorado was the perfect place for Heaven and Earth! I learned this and so much more from Donna Eden and her Eden Energy Medicine practices
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8) Back at the ranch in Driftwood, TX, waking up the chi in the keyboard-tied hands by shaking them like a polaroid!
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9) Harvest Moon with Radiant Hearts; another practice I learned from Donna Eden. My production team Henry & Bandito were on hand to make sure everything went smoothly
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10) Scary Halloween time with all the EMFs we are getting bombarded by! I used to wear my iPhone in my back pocket; not anymore — I carry it in a satchel :)))
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11) During the solar eclipse, I proclaim my gratitude to the sun by doing Heaven and Earth in a very dry Onion Creek
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12) Thriller under the Austin Bat Bridge! I learned this grounding tip many moons ago; slap the perimeters of your body up & down to help you get back in your body and ground your thoughts. Breathe too!
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13) More sun salutations and Donna Eden moves on the ranch; tap the meridian points on your face and at your collar bone and then beat your chest like Tarzan to help you wake up :))
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14) We all get knocked down and we fall sometimes too and that’s okay Stuart Smalley! Keeping your balance in practice will help navigate this ups & downs
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15) Good posture reminder heading into the holiday season! It can be stressful time but sometimes the little things can make a difference; like how you present yourself to family & friends. Sit tall, head held high and enjoy the ride
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16) Thanksgiving sunset salutations in Santa Barbara; pulling the earth’s energy up and slapping the monkey as I thank the skies above for all the gifts of the year. I think we all can agree that we just feel better on a beach voila
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17) The holiday madness! This is how NOT to do Donna Eden’s Triple Warmer! When done properly, it is a powerful way to renew your energy. More to come on this in 2015
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18) Mall Madness! Another Donna Eden tip; the Hookup; pull your belly button and Third Eye up with your fingers and hold and breathe. Do this a few times to feel like you can tackle the world
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19) The hills are alive! I took a singing lesson and fell in LOVE with how it can raise my vibration, and I have been in love with the Sound of Music for decades! Singing will literally move the Spirit in you and make you feel better
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20) Our Power Center; Our Core. It’s where many of our hopes, dreams and creativity get trapped, not to mention sense of self. I do many things in life to wake up my core — and the hula hoop is a great way to do that!
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That’s a lotta videos, whew! I hope your energy continues to improve in 2015 and thank you again for reading and watching my journey 😀 Happy New Year! xx

~Meagan Burns