I have decided to lay down my roots in Austin, Texas after sitting on a fence for about a year. I actually cried as I gazed up to Lady Liberty on top of the Texas State Capitol; this State can annoy the heck out of me at times, but fault can be found in any state. I don’t look for that because I have found some awesome new friends, some bubbling opportunities and a fairly clear path ahead of me. It’s where I want to be.
Each day I draw a drawing based on a tweet I randomly select from Twitter; the exercise has done amazing things to expand my creativity and inspires me more each day, even on the days that I don’t like my drawing. I did a drawing of Pope Francis recently that literally made me feel weird — but even the creepy ones teach me a lesson.
The more I work with my energy, the more risks I take with my creativity — and this is my goal! My art is pretty safe right now, so there is tons of room for growth, but I also focus on my people skills — drawing them, that is. I struggle with hands and feet, but it’s getting better.
So this week’s #newenergyin15 is all about creativity, playing and setting high hopes! I’m currently taking belly dancing lessons — I love it! It uses muscles that rarely get used in the Western world and makes me feel stronger on oh-so-many levels.
Here I am belly dancing in Vienna, listening to Mozart In Real Life, because this is what I’m going to do some day. Perhaps not all at once, but you get the drift, it’s my vision board… :DD
I’m a fan of doing energy work (reiki) on my dogs and have seen great results on Henry, but this new Little Dude showed up and all bets were off. Bandito is not a fan! He found a new home at the neighbors and all is calm once again.
Qi gong is great to wake up in the morning and also great to help you prepare for sleep. By rotating your arms around in a bird-like fashion, it helps quiet the mind and encourage deep breathing. A soothing Beatles tune helps :))
This past week, I had the golden opportunity to attend a NIA White Belt training at a crystal farm located just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas. I chose this instead of driving to East Austin every day for 7 days, as this option included a free stay at the farm. I discovered NIA dance several years ago, well after I had trained years earlier in Gabrielle Roth’a dance, and felt its principles were speaking to me now as I prepared to deepen my practice. As of last Friday, I can now teach NIA and will be doing so at the end of September at two studios in Dripping Springs, Texas.
It’s an intense training; the days are long and obviously, very physical. I loved every sore-muscle minute of it! The farm was absolutely beautiful and I am completely grateful to have had this opportunity to learn and get certified in Little Rock. I especially enjoyed the early mornings with my roommates; I so rarely get the opportunity to have coffee and spirited conversations with such diverse characters, well before the sun’s day break. I feel a bit smarter and a dollop stronger for having completed this week on the farm. I’ve made some awesome new friends and hope to know hem for years to come.
It was a tremendous experience — including the few days I arrived early to explore Arkansas. Who knew this state was so gorgeous??! They call it the Natural State, I had no idea! Arkansas is an easy target for hillbilly jokes, and while of course I made many, I also learned an awful lot, and that’s a beautiful thing. Arkansas has quartz crystal mines, so there is quite an influx of people in search of said crystals; I even found myself in a mine and spent an afternoon digging. Amazing!! I explored the hot springs of Hot Springs, climbed a few mountains, greeted the rising sun from some breath-taking perches and spent an afternoon in the William J. Clinton Presidential Library; it moved me to tears more than once.
I’m thankfully out of hillbilly jokes because I have seen “the purdy” side of Arkansas. It was an amazing week and I’m excited to start teaching NIA!
A quick 9-hour drive home, a few loads of laundry and then Reed and I were off to Aspen, Colorado to stay with his Aunt Lucy and see the high country burst into the autumn season. Oh what a gorgeous country it is!
I think back to where my life was one year ago — it’s completely different today and thank God for this. I was working a corporate job (or two!) in Chicago and really thought that would be my path, but obviously I kept falling flat on my face. Losing so many jobs — okay being FIRED from so many jobs, having to sell all my belongings and then eventually moving out of Chicago, was extremely painful and has deeply changed me forever. The cake-froster was my mom’s death. Only one year ago I was crawling out of the mire and uncertain about where my life would go next. It was, in a word, terrifying.
Reed came back into my life last Thanksgiving when he invited me to Mexico for Thanksgiving. I never thought I would see him again after our divorce in 2008, but alas, never say never. I never felt right about how things ended between us; so I am grateful to have this opportunity to get right with him — but mostly to get right with myself, because I cannot help others until I help myself.
When we were married, I was restless and had absolutely no direction. I was adrift in my pointless life and unmotivated to change it. I had lost that sparkle in my eye, that spark that had enabled me to endure almost anything in my life. Reed had offered to let me do anything — yet I could not decide and chose to do nothing instead. Can you imagine? We did a lot of traveling and moved into many houses, yet I became increasingly annoyed by it all. “Unattractive” is the word I would use to describe myself. I was once an artist! Not anymore; I would pick up a paint brush and cast it aside, feeling literally nothing except a dull pressure to be something I was not anymore. I blamed the world and especially blamed Reed for my injustices.
Injustices. How outrageously arrogant of me.
I have never been more focused in my direction, nor more excited to live an adventurous and colorful life, than I am today. I have pangs of guilt for not currently having a job, but I’ll get over it. I am working toward an entirely different career experience and how lucky I am to have the opportunity to explore these new heights. I start teaching NIA later this month, but that is only the beginning. I am aiming high!
I believe we cross paths with people who are meant to teach us something, even if it is delivered through a painful, one-two-punch lesson. Upon arriving in Aspen, Aunt Lucy completely nailed me to the wall, ridiculing me, wagging a finger in my face, wanting to know why I am so happy and what is my secret because she DOESN’T UNDERSTAND. It was scary and unsettling — this is a very angry woman who is deep in her Stage 4 cancer battle and is duking it out with her demons. Lucy has everythingand more than the “American Dream” would suggest, yet her heart is cold and empty. And scared. She does not like unicorn-chasing, skip-to-the-loo-tree-huggers like myself, yet she is surrounded by them and pursues them here in Aspen. She went above and beyond to hurt me and succeeded.
I was a wounded pup for a few hours but quickly recovered. The fruits of my emotional labor; I now pull myself out of the hole, rapidly, with very little drama.
I composed myself in all that is gorgeous and illuminous in Aspen, Colorado and it dawned on me that no matter who we are, we are all searching to get out of our pain and to know what love is all about. It can take a lifetime. Thank God we all have one.
im·pec·ca·ble (of behavior, performance, or appearance) in accordance with the highest standards of propriety; faultless.
During my NIA training, we were asked to be impeccable. Impeccable in our words and actions. Interesting! It has caused me to think before I speak and I am now acutely aware of my impeccability — even if I am anything but impeccable at times. I am responsible for my happiness and my involvement in life. I am not expecting a doctor to hand me a happy pill, nor do I feel that anyone owes me anything. My life has become impeccably easier to navigate since I lost everything last year and re-discovered my true self and a deep desire to be helpful. I have that spark in my eye once again.
The more I read and attempt to understand near death experiences, the more I accept how profoundly I have been changed by my mom’s passing; and it was not a near death experience for me, but a near-to-three-deaths-experience. Those weeks spent with my mom have affected me in such a way that at times I have no words for it, so I sometimes chose to withdraw and fall into my study and fascination of “everything-as-energy”. I am inspired by everything I am learning; my perspective on life has evolved and I am super hungry to learn more. Even though it may appear as though I’m sitting there doing nothing, there is an enormous wave of activity going on in my head, and it is true I have never adored silence as much as I do now.
Ahhhhh sweet, golden silent silence I need you so I can read the world around me…
“The dots have been connected and there is no going back.” –Anita Moorjani in “Dying To Be Me.”
I just finished this book and I *love* her message and look forward to exploring more of it; specifically about how life comes down to self love. Not selfish love but self love — huge difference. But alas, this is much easier said than done for me; I have been reading self-help books my entire life and have strived to feel better about myself, i.e. change and improve myself so that I would feel good enough to be accepted by those around me and by the world in general eeeee-gads, much like the author. I’ve read wonderful books over the years, attended fabulous workshops, joined many, many groups, traveled near and far to look for that golden ticket, but at the end of the day, the week, the month, the year, nothing changed. I was still me. Still restless. Still discontent. I walked away from trying to improve myself, whatever, it didn’t work for me.
This has been a lifetime of mistakes and achievements and setbacks and adventure and only now, after my mom’s apology before her death, have I felt that steel cage melt away from around my heart and my life is forever elevated. Only now am I beginning to ease up on the harsh words and condemnation I’ve always had for myself. You could say perhaps I don’t care anymore, but I’ve never cared more in my life. My focus has changed tremendously over the past year, so I guess it only made sense that the Universe stripped me of everything in order to accommodate this radical change in perception. Well done Universe, well done.
Have you ever experienced a HUGE RELIEF? For me it’s when I eased off and stopped punishing myself for everything that would be impossible for me to be anyways. It’s when I gave myself permission to stop following all the self-imposed rules that have dictated my guilt-ridden life. It is a huuuuuuuuuuuge weight off my back and at times I have no idea who I am anymore. I’m okay with this. It’s not perfect by any means and I still have days when I get down on myself, but it’s a million miles away from what it used to be. If only my mom could have been free of this brutal punishment…. but that was not her life.
I also love the author’s message about food, as I have been afraid of eating unhealthy food for DECADES. Oh I’ve eaten it in the past, only to then punish myself in a variety of ways. Her fresh outlook on eating impressed me so much that this week I ate fried chicken from a chicken shack in Austin and I didn’t pass out! Oh it was gross for sure, but I enjoyed it with GUSTO. I had a coke too, YUM!
I am almost 50 years old. It takes what it takes…. and now I have my entire world ahead of me.
When I awake each morning and climb my way out of the morning’s dream, I get a mellow rush of excitement for the day ahead, no matter what lies ahead. I see things twirling around in my head, like magic 8’s dancing above me. I have a faery chandelier over my bed and I watch it twinkle for a few minutes as I leave my dream state and return to the State of Texas. I am pleased. I think of someone I love. I stretch and pet my dog and yawn and check my phone. I love waking up…
…then I head outside to do some energetic sun salutations in the driveway. Henry has begun to join me out there and I work with his energy and get it moving up & out. He appears to be full of vigor once again! He has been struggling ever since he returned from Mexico a few months ago and has had a multitude of vet appointments. He is looking happy again…
I sometimes forget I have been attuned in reiki. I sometimes forget I studied Gabrielle Roth’s dance for years and taught it in Mexico. I sometimes forget that I have psychic talents that love to be nurtured. I sometimes forget I was a graphic designer or that I love to write and that I can draw and paint fairly well. I sometimes forget that even though I spent years damaging my body with booze, smokes and poppin’ pills, my body is an amazing piece of wonder and it can heal itself. I sometimes forget I have power to change my life and live the life I’ve often dreamed of. I have started to remember that life can be wonderful and full of magic, even at this age when so many of us are overly-familiar with the dullness that can crush our waking days.
I read the news, I am not in some airy-faery cloud, but the best thing I can do for the world is to be the best Meagan I can be.
I have returned to dance and will be getting certified to teach NIA technique dance later this month. I am learning to read tarot cards because they help me make sense of practically every aspect of life and I love it! I have been reading oracle cards for a while now and they are becoming richer to me. I read Shakespeare and recently found this little book of gems. I love love letters. I have a little job that is good for now while I continue to pursue the many things I love in life and by doing this, I have a spring in my step when I bounce out of bed in the morning, even though I have so far to go. I’ve also had it about up to HERE with the State of TEXAS yet I am grateful beyond belief for all of the gifts and experiences it has provided me.
Oh To Be MeAgan… I loved reading this book and I really do love the journey, not just the destination… :)))
While in Mexico this past winter, some neighbors were having an estate sale because they were relocating back to Canada and literally had truckloads of books to unload. This was AFTER the actual estate sale, so imagine how many books they sold, because books are hard to come by in Mexico — and they are expensive! I took in about 3 bags of books and left all of them in Mexico, except this one made the journey home to America with me, because it moved me that much.
This little blue gem is called “The Hidden Messages in Water” and was written in 2001 by Japanese scientist Dr. Masaru Emoto. I fell into this book immediately and knew it was no coincidence that this book found me when it did. A few years earlier and I would not have been able to stomach the book because it is so trippy. But the past year plus a few months has been all about the subject of vibration, specifically, raising my vibration. And it has worked! Pandora’s Box has been opened and I love my rose-colored glasses! Does that make me sound weird?
It’s a beautiful and very simple idea and goes to the very root of “choose your words wisely”. I have heard this most of my adult life and have attempted to practice it, but I never really whole-heartily got behind it because nothing about my life — the life I was living, breathing and seeing — seemed to give credence that our words really matter. Turn on the tv and pick a saga: horribly evil and twisted people have all the money and power; extremely rude and bad behavior (read = GROSS) is handsomely and financially rewarded; sex with everyone and everyting essentially WINS the game. People who are careful, loving and kind with their words and speak positively of themselves and others are thought of as being “weird” and soft. At least that’s how I saw them. Hello Stewart Smalley?
Perhaps the events of the past few years have prepared me to change my perceptions about life. This book has helped me with that.
The book supports scientific proof that your words hold a vibration and that vibration has a memory and affects everything about your life, starting with the water that makes up, oh, just about everything in the world. But hey now, if you were to read the reviews on Amazon for this book, you would discover that there are a world of people who do not believe in Dr. Emoto’s work and think it’s all ballyhoo. That’s okay with me, it makes absolute sense to me.
I love the simplicity of the hidden messages in water. It has changed the the inner dialogue I have with myself. I have lost the dark edge and gained soft curves. Perhaps it’s why I could no longer live in Chicago; I honestly prefer soft curves to the hard edges of Chicago, and Chicago is nothing but hard edges. Ahhh someday I’ll go home, but not now.
Because of this book, I speak to water all over the world and drink only reversed-osmosis water or distilled water. And I bless it first.
Who’s the weirdo now??Not me, I love it! xoxo
I knew I would be writing about this book today and wouldn’t you know I discovered Gwyneth Paltrow has also discovered the book and Dr. Habib Sadeghi has written a few words about it in this month’s GOOP. I have never read Goop, but I have seen on Twitter and elsewhere how much people make fun of Gwyneth. I take my fair share of jabs over my beliefs — obviously on a much much much smaller scale, yet I don’t care; I know what works for me and I carry on. Although that comparison to war Gwyn Darling? eeeeeesh.
I used to scoff at people who claimed they were blessed and/or were grateful. I had a hard time being grateful a few years back…. not so much anymore; I’ve had more than a few brushes with magic and now feel grateful everyday — even on bad days. It’s not perfect, but I stay committed to looking for it.
When I packed up my life a few weeks ago in Illinois to move to Texas, I had five days to do so because I was starting a new job in seven days and had no time to spare. Needless to say, I blasted through quite a bit while sorting things out and tried my best to keep on top of everything, but recently I discovered I overlooked something fairly huge.
More like gargantuan:
My checkbook, my mother’s checkbook, her savings account book, my bank statements with credit card info, a stack of new meagburnt biz cards and a *signed* blank check for made out for $900.00. Oh and a cow notepad.
Apparently I missed the opportunity to include my social security card to this stack of goods.
I received a call with a Michigan area code and of course did not answer it, because who answers an unrecognized number? I then listened to the message from a woman named Becky who recently purchased a red suitcase from the Sparrow’s Nest thrift shop in Woodstock and I almost ran off the Texas Highway, because she had all of the above items that I had left in a donated suitcase. ALL OF THEM.
She was a lovely, lovely woman and asked if she could mail these things to me; of course, of course you can mail these things to me, I would be forever grateful if you would mail these things to me.
I received a large envelope in my new Texas mailbox on Good Friday, along with an Easter card from my Aunt Nancy, who feels incomplete in life if she is unable to send me a card. Life is right again; I have a mailbox!
However, I still need to clean out the bird’s nest…
Inside the big envelope was all of my sacred financial information, as well as a handwritten note. Becky tells me she purchased the suitcase for her son & daughter-in-law, who had just moved to London. Becky and her husband were soon to depart for a visit and had filled the suitcase with 41-pounds of chocolate chips, organic peanut butter, cheez-its, walnuts, Mexican ingredients; all the things the kids were sure to miss from America — she literally told me my suitcase is now very happy in the UK, having delivered all the goodies to the kids! And thanked me for donating the little red suitcase! Becky thanked me in a wonderful twist of karmic goodness.
I read the letter as I walked up my driveway and I was in udder shock by the time I got to my door. Does this type of kindness even exist in our world today? Yes, apparently so! The proof was in my hands and in this wonderful envelope I received on Good Friday. I’ve thought momentarily of everything that could have gone terribly wrong, but instead I say THANK YOU.
I sent Becky a text when I composed myself and thanked her for the safe return of my things and for her generous spirit, wonderful integrity and cheery letter. I promised to send her a hand-written note within the next few days — but first I needed to gather the supplies necessary to send an actual hand-written letter.
I wrote that letter-slash-card to Becky and again thanked her for her kindness. I even sent her some photos of my adventures in Texas — and of course London too! My suitcase is having a marvelous time in London! I had a marvelous time in London! I love London!
Now that I have started to gather the materials needed to send hand written notes, I think I will make a habit of this. It was an awesome gift to receive and felt really good — affirming and solid — to send a letter in return to a perfect stranger who saved me from possible financial ruin.
Thank you Universe! I did cartwheels in your honor this Easter Weekend!!
Do you want a Texas postcard? Send me your address to firstname.lastname@example.org
Being your true self is the coolest decision you’ll ever make. — my yoga teacher, Leslie.
That’s it! I have officially acknowledged myself as a WOO-WOO. I have the sweat and guts and tears to prove it and I couldn’t be more delighted about it! This is my reality and I have decided to finally embrace it.
I uploaded my first vlog about my past few months and I look forward to adding this medium to the mix, because sometimes words should be spoken. I recently attended a night of storytelling by three seasoned storytellers and it really moved me. Good ol’fashion spoken stories, like the days before we all stared at tiny electronic screens. No really, something in my heart jumped, I loved it. I’m knocking around the idea of trying this artform live on stage — a lost art that appears to be making a comeback and I welcome it. From wiki:
“Storytelling is the conveying of events in words, and images, often by improvisation or embellishment. Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation and instilling moral values. Crucial elements of stories and storytelling include plot, characters and narrative point of view.”
I also watched a beautifully made documentary, “Mythic Journeys” that looks at the role of mythology and mysticism in modern society and storytelling — very informative and pretty too!
Twenty years ago I embarked on a spiritual quest that took me from Chicago to San Francisco to Europe and back; I learned so many incredible lessons about growing up, relationships, personal responsibility, shamanism, religion, spirituality, the 12 Steps, Gabrielle Roth’s 5 Rhythms, Feldenkrais, Law of Attraction, ETC., so now I am adding on this foundation I started a few decades ago. I admitantly walked away from all of it for about a decade. I was frustrated and felt like nothing was working. This past decade had it’s own lessons and the journey carries on. How lucky am I that I have this opportunity? Thankyou Universe! xo
I participated in a “Trust Your Vibes” workshop with Sonia Choquette this past weekend and also saw Sonia in London a few months ago. She is brilliant and her courses require brutal honesty, something I have now become prepared to face. This is not easy. I saw Sonia 20 years ago before I moved to San Francisco and I recall only ONE THING she said to me, “I would suggest eating more spicy foods because you are smothering yourself with all your self-imposed rules and your soul wants to live.” Lord that was true, I was the biggest food nazi around and I’m happy to say that even though the search for healthy foods is a wee challenging, I do allow myself some comfort foods because I no longer think it’s cool to punish myself.
There’s no lying about this; this is no weekend-warrior-self-help-workshop-stuff that allows me to compartmentalize my internal calling for knowledge and compassion, and then allow me to slip back into the comfortably numb mentality, come Monday morning. No Siree Bub, this is all or nothing and as much as it’s kicking my ass, I have officially surrendered to the process, have great trust in the plan and am super-excited about the adventure that lies ahead.
I’ve lost it all and I’m not dead or nor without hope. I still have a sparkle in my eye ;D
I also respect all the folks who are doing the weekend workshops and whatnot to improve their personal well-being, because I believe my years of participating in those made me ready for the commitment to greater health possible today. Baby steps. I applaud them and take them.
In this weekend workshop, I broke through some huuuuge barriers and let my intuition (read: psychic) flag fly high — I loved it and have been told that now that I’m proudly waving it, there’s no going back. It was brilliant and I saw and learned things I will never forget. I will write about these experiences some day, as soon as I swallow them all.
The other day I received a “thanks-but-no” letter about a job I believed I was P-E-R-F-E-C-T for, and also heard absolute crickets on another job I was really hoping to hear a good word on. After a good cry and stomp-about over a slap of rejection, I stood up and said, “FUCK IT, LET’S GO HAVE SOME FUN MEAG.”
I am off to San Miguel de Allende tomorrow to climb the Mexican mountainside, breathe the high altitude air, swim in the healing hot spring waters and cook a turkey dinner with my ex-husband, whom I still adore and am very excited to see.
ANDALE! Happy Thanksgiving, peace to all. Don’t forget…… I see you!! xoxo
The urge to label myself as lazy or unproductive may be at the tip of my tongue, but I am refusing to let those words or thoughts slip through, because I am not lazy nor unproductive, nor am I a slacker. Although one may arrive at that impression if you were to look at the surface of my life — a regular Life of Riley as it were, but let’s be honest: no one is really sizing up my life with nearly the critical eye as my very own critical eye.
That stops now. I have made a promise to myself that I will not lambast myself anymore. I have been filling my head with some incredible books, words, lessons, music, activities, exercises, ETCETERA, all in a headstrong dedication to raise my vibration, because in order to live a magical yet smart, smart, smart life, I need to operate and thrive on a much higher level on consciousness.
Energy. Energy Balls. Energy balls are atoms. Everything in our world is made up of atoms. Including every single person in the world. Everything is atoms, moving around at various frequencies, which creates their density. The slower the frequency, the lower the vibration. The lower the vibration, the darker the energy. The darker the energy, the more depressed it is OR SOMETHING LIKE THIS AND COULD I BUY SOME POT FROM YOU????
I am kidding because I hate pot — but it’s true I sometimes get so wrapped up in these conversations about energy balls, I feel like I’m tripping the light fantastic on some transcendental meditation exploration hippy trip — and I love it! Years ago I threw myself into books, workshops and seminars on the Laws of Attraction and saw some pretty powerful fruitions come to be. My San Francisco years were achieved by practicing these principles and I truly enjoyed those years and all that I learned. But I am absorbing this on an entirely new level now and strongly believe it is because of the extraordinary experience of witnessing my mom’s death, which snapped me out of my post-divorce, post-Mexico funk. I am ready to be in the world again. And this time it’s going to be magical. It already is — I have seen magic!
To raise my energy, I do yoga, qui gong, breathing exercises, reiki, walking in nature (LOVE) and meditation – which is still challenging, but I’m always learning and staying open to new lessons as I quiet the noise in my head. I am in a seven-week online TAPPING course right now, and this is pretty powerful stuff as well. Tapping on meridian points, who knew? As far as books, there are so many books on the subject it could make your head explode, but these days I rely on my intuition because it has proven to be trust worthy. The first one I was drawn to was an ebook, written by Caroline Shearer of Absolute Love Publishing.
I found the first one, “Raise Your Vibration: Tips & Tools for a High-Frequency Life“, downloaded it and devoured it almost immediatley. I like her writing style because she sounds like she would be a girlfriend of mine. It’s real! I then followed her/her publishing company on all the social media channels and soon learned that Absolute Love Publishing was offering to give away some of their books in exchange for a review. Voila! I was planning on reading them anyways, but now I had access to them on the spot!
I followed up my reading with the next book in the series, “Raise Your Verbal Vibration: Create the Life You Want with Law of Attraction Language“. This book is spectacular for making you aware of what current language you are using and how it may be negatively affecting you and also provides a broad list of alternative words. I have printed this list of words out and pinned above my desk (Pinterest in real life!) so I can easily reference them — I also read them aloud to my dog every morning. He enjoys this activity. 😉
Next up was, “Raise Your Financial Vibration: Tips and Tools to Embrace Your Infinite Spiritual Abundance“. When it comes to the topic of money, earning power and guilt, there’s no shortage of issues over here. As women, we are not supposed to talk about money but our generation of mothers (generally speaking), did not offer a great education, nor dialogue on earning money and how to manage it. Money is energy as well and yet another relationship in our lives. And my relationship has not been so great. That changes now!
The past few years have been really challenging for me; I have not been stably employed or otherwise engaged in about two years, and so my finances have been running amuck. I have made great effort in the past few months to tackle some old haunting issues and have succeeded! And while I celebrated this victory, there is more work to do. First steps are to get my money issues OUT OF THE CLOSET and face them head on.
When I read this quote in the book, I knew I was reading the right book, “We are in a time when the world is hanging precipitously. Not in a financial sense, but in an energetic sense, and this is because we are beginning to understand that where our energy goes, our reality will follow.”
These books are really a very basic and elementary lessons, delivered gently yet firmly and rooted in a nice balance of spirituality, which is important to me. But these lessons, I believe, are so very easy to ignore. No one really wants to belittle ourselves on a daily basis, but it’s amazing how quickly we do just this. I am punishing myself for things that happened years and years ago that no one but ME even remembers. I don’t want to do this anymore.
I met my spirit guides fairly recently, even some of my angels, and I have been advised to stop the practice of Meag-Bashing. DONE. Of course I can only do this with a little help from my friends…
Here’s the thing: tell someone you believe in UFOs and that’s perfectly acceptable. It’s out there, it’s controversial, it’s vague, it’s elusive, it’s relative, it has hard evidential proof, it has changed some people’s lives forever, it’s got a slew of groupies…. and it’s perfectly acceptable to most if this is what your floats your boat and what you want to devote your personal time to.
But mention you’re having a “spiritual awakening” and people may give you the side-eye and back away slowly. Because that’s crazy — or I’m crazy because I am starting to see and feel some results (wow that’s a lousy word to use in the context of spiritual awakening!) of all the personal work I have been doing. The meditation. The yoga. The breathing. The walking. The reading. The energy experiments. The changing of my diet. The re-routing of my normal thinking patterns (Lordy this is HAAAAARD). And the silence. Ohhh the loads of silence I have come to adore and require now, just as I require air to breath.
Why is it that an actual spiritual awakening is somewhat mistrusted? I’ve seen eyebrows go up and felt the proverbial, “ah boy, we lost her.” sentiment because I’ve mentioned, in my joyous exaltation, that my beginner’s mind is starting to see and feel some magical new ways of thinking — and I could NOT be more thrilled about this. These ways of existing in the world have always been available to me, just as they are to you, but I am discovering for the first time because I am practicing new principles. And I became ready. But it’s not perfect nor pain-free! Ahh but it IS perfect for right now.
This reaction… well it’s ironic if you ask me, because many people strive for a more spiritual way of being; in their personal relationships, in their careers, in their every level of life — because it’s cool, and I completley agree. Twitter is rampant with quotes and retweets of our spiritual leaders and beyond — because it IS COOL to talk about being spiritual. It’s not cool to be religious; but spiritual is awesome — because religious is crazy, right? And don’t even think about getting crazy about being spiritual, because that’s just nuts!!
Although when it arrives — if it arrives, it may perhaps change the way you tweet, change the way you participate in the world, rock the very core of your foundation, make you burst out in tears for no other reason except that the love thumping in your veins can’t be contained; it may force you to spontaneously hug people and trees, walk around on your hands at the beach and then blow your head up right off your shoulders.
This is what I have been experiencing lately. And I like it. Except the bit about my head blowing up. That has not happened. Yet.
I spent my late twenties and early thirties searching for a spiritual awakening and never found it, much to my chagrin. I worked with shamans, I became a diligent student of religious science, I participated in drumming circles, had soul retrievals, spent countless hours on a therapist’s couch — because I was convinced that something was wrong with me and that a spiritual awakening would be my way out of it.
But it has occurred to me: I don’t want to read the biography of a person who has not lived a full life; where they’ve not crawled through their own personal never-ending hell and survived, not celebrated to excess and beyond when success was achieved — and survived; and everything in between. Perhaps no one is allowed to have a spiritual awakening until life has been lived in all corners of darkness and light. I don’t think I’m anywhere near my end, nor sampled all corners, but I have done my fair sharing of crawling and celebrating. Perhaps not in that order.
I sat with my mom when she died and was with my two twin uncles when they died — separately — as well; all within the past recent years. I saw things happen to them as they were “transitioning”. I had emotional conversations with each of them that seared my core; my mom knocked me out of the park with her parting words for a couple of weeks. I saw “someone” come get them, “be” with each of them and even shine a light on my mom’s face when there was no light. I absolutely HAD to change the way I participated in my world because of these experiences. It was very different for each of them — I can only sum it up by saying their spirit was delivered by whom it should have been delivered. errrr something like that!
My Three Holy Ghosts:
I have also been fired from three jobs in the past year as well — I even quit one job, so these past few years have completely made my head spin round and round and round. And cry and cry. Although I shed no tears for this last job — I was on my way, so the feeling was mutual.
I’m currently living in Woodstock, Illinois (although I watch the sunset in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin when I can) and I have honestly made peace with this town that I once despised, and even thanked Mayor Brian Sager for a job well done last week. I met him at Woodstock’s festival nod to Broadway; he and his administration have really opened up theater options in Woodstock, as well as welcoming more new businesses in town. The day was much like a day right out of the pages of “Waiting for Guffman.” and I was tickled! I no longer have angst for this little town and have honestly enjoyed my time here. The aforementioned silence can be found in this town, as well as in the surrounding area towns I once hated while growing up, but ahhhh no longer 🙂
I was hoping to leave Woodstock now that I have made peace with it, but with the recent lose of yet another job, I find I must stay put a while longer. Apparently I have not yet learned what I have come here to learn in my little hometown neck of the nape, and OY please don’t make it last forever! Because I hear the call of the West.
I recently stumbled upon this video and it stopped me cold in my tracks because….. well because I have experienced ALL of these things in the past few weeks — and I’ll be honest, it’s a bit scary at times. Somedays I have no idea who I am and where I’m headed, but I have faith. I have faith!
… so ask me if I have any idea who I am right now.
And I will say I AM MEAGAN BURNS!! My eyes are open and I love it! These experiences with death have showed me a beautiful side of life, even if I can’t stop getting fired! I have never felt more sane in my life…
I feel tremendous gratitude for all the people that have helped me through these past few months and I keep meeting more and more of these kindred souls; I am excited to learn more through them and with them. Below is a list of a few of the books that have also helped me through some of these issues, but don’t forget about being silly and laughing! Because really, why else keep plugging along if you can’t laugh about it? xoxo
Hard to believe it’s been six months since my mom died; some days it feels like just minutes ago I was with her in her hospital room, trying to pry her hands off of her bed rail because they were turning purple. Yet other days it feels like she’s been gone for ages. I have learned so much in the past few months; the lessons have come in all sizes and shapes and I honestly hope this journey continues to reveal itself. I feel like I am finally growing up but not in a snore-bore sorta-way. In a way that has eluded me for years but somehow is tapping open my heart now. I’ve paid off some old bills as well, so I suppose that’s rather snore-bore but it felt tremendous to take care of some old financial haunts. I’m almost there!
I am 47 and both my parents are dead. Many of the things I used to care about; I don’t anymore. Some things have fallen to the wayside; others have become more omni-important. I am less afraid in the world. To be less afraid has been a very powerful gift and I’m so very grateful for this gift of confidence.
I was terrified of the water. I was afraid to be out in the country all by myself. I used to call the police when I was out in the country and they would say to me, “do you realize that’s the wind?” I used to be afraid of silence because of all the voices I could hear.
One of my most favorite things now is to be out in the country, sitting in a lake all by myself, listening to the silence and wise voices that I hear. It’s true!
I took a new job two months ago because I believed so much in the product; the problem is, is that I did not believe in the company. And it turns out they did not believe in me, so we have recently parted ways. As shocking as this may seem to some, it really felt like the absolute right thing to have happened. What now?
This will be very hard for me to do but I have been instructed not to do anything for a week. This goes against everything in me — because I want to poke around and completely over-analyze the situation. Instead I am going to focus on raising my vibration.
Raising my vibration. It’s happening. I am clearing my chakras. Raising the roof. Awakening the heart. Mindful meditation — I am finally getting it where I don’t think of sex the entire time! Breathing from my toes. Reaching for the stars. Feeling the gratitude. Sharing kindness. Sending love. The Grinch when he discovered the true meaning of Christmas? Yeah, me. I wasn’t a hater like him, but I swear somedays I think my heart is going to burst of my ribcage.
I feel alive on a level I have never experienced before and I want to devour the world. I have taken a break or pause from social media but I am ready to be visible again. I am also taking a reiki class and studying angels since they have decided to visit me. Yes, angels. I no longer care if that makes me sound crazy because it makes me happy.
It’s really my mom’s criticism I hear when I decide I want to pursue things that make me happy. My mom never understood my pursuits but in the end she apologized for being mean to me and wished she had been nicer. Her gift to me was realizing she had been wrong about me. This has changed something deep inside of me. I have walked around my entire life thinking my mom thought I was crazy – or didn’t like me. This is not the case, she loved me and only wished she had the expression that I have always had. This realization has changed everything about my life. In turn, I am going to be nicer to me and not criticize my pursuits.
It is an amazing gift when a parent apologizes before they die. I understand that many people do not get this gift and I am completely grateful my mom had the heart to say something to me.
I am committed to making the autumn and winter of my life magical. An angel appeared on my arm by way of a rogue doodle and told me to believe. I believe…
I have dabbled in meditation here and there over the years but it wasn’t until this past February that I found myself sitting in the local buddhist temple, which is a strikingly peaceful oasis to sit and soak in the silence. And to begin my foray back into mediation. These Buddhist Monks hail from Sri Lanka and I can’t pronounce any of their names except I have recently learned that the equivalent of “Father Sujatha” is “Bhante Sujatha” so I find it’s safest to call each of them “Bhante.”
A few months ago it was all I needed to sit in the beautiful temple to attempt to quiet my mind, which ping-ponged all over the place like a mad chicken on crack. I was all over the place so the silence did my mind and body good, and I probably tweaked and twitched as I sat there in the silence. It doesn’t matter, any and all are welcome at this temple and I totally appreciate the warm welcome they gave me.
As the weeks unraveled and I began to recover from everything that had happened over the past year, I was having more and more questions for the Monks and requiring more direction. Three nights per week they host silent mediations, followed up by a talk from Bhante Sujatha, if he is in town or one of the others. When Bhante speaks, he refers to the benefits of his mediation and how he is able to allow things to bounce off him and not bother him and is accepting of most situations in life; he is always harmonious with life. These are my words and not his; he would never say something so arrogant as this. I’m sure of it.
My questions during class hover around, “so in order to get to this place of acceptance, can you suggest maybe five or six ways to achieve this through mediation?” No, just continue to practice and you will see. “But my thoughts stampede out to the wildest situations, usually sexual in nature or something along those lines, but it is never still, always racing.” Just keep coming here and you will see.
This worked for a few weeks but I knew that I was in need of some direction, because I really want to reign in my thoughts and quiet the mind. I’ve had glimpses of this in the recent past and know it’s possible, so my desire led me to search for more. It led me to google things!
Another benefit of the exploration years in San Francisco is that I used to take T’ai Chi lessons in the park in the early mornings and I remembered how calming it was for me. I googled t’ai chi and soon stumbled upon Qi Gong, another Asian healing art I studied briefly a long time ago and was drawn to it because it’s referred to as the Mother of T’ai Chi.
It didn’t take long for me to have an A HA moment and realize this is where I wanted to spend my time. I googled deeper into Qi Gong and discovered Lee Holden. He has a few free youtubes and I was hooked with 7 Minutes of Magic that was filmed in Sand Harbor Beach in Lake Tahoe, as well as taking a class at the Temple. I knew I was starting to wake up because for the first time in a very long time, I was ready to go some where. I went to South Lake Tahoe. I climbed a mountain. I did Qi Gong. T’ai Chi. Yoga. Mountain Biking. Hot springs. Ate organic salads. Had a blast!
Of course I made a Vine too (I am @meagburnt on Vine)
Since returning home I signed up for Lee’s online classes because his world head quarters are in Santa Cruz, California. Or perhaps it’s his studio! I am going to give myself 30-days to stick with it — and if I do, I will pursue taking more IRL classes. So far, the lessons have been wonderful and my QI is starting to wake up!
No seriously, this is serious. I am enjoying every minute of this. After this morning’s meditation I felt the qi rising in my cheeks and shins like I had never felt them before in my life. Who’s body is this? It’s mine! xo
Here’s Henry the day I came home from Lake Tahoe, he was soooooooo excited to see me, he went airborne! His qi is incredible too …
When I think back to the last half of 2012, it occurs to me that I was in a rather suspended mode and did not make many waves as I waited for yet another holiday season to roll on by. I knew something was up with my mom, but I was not allowed to get too close, so I numbed it out of my mind. I remember walking out of my office and I could feel my feet walking down the sidewalk, but it felt like my head was staying in the same place. I was trapped in a tunnel. It’s all rather surreal when I think back, because it was literally right after the holidays ended that my mom went south, after her youngest brother went into the hospital and was told he had about a week to live. Tom did not make it past three days and the night of his funeral was when I first had to bring my mom to the Emergency Room. They told me they couldn’t keep Mom, they said excruciating pain was not enough of a reason to admit someone. WHAT?
It was a snowy Friday January evening; I took the bus home across the Loop and arrived at my West Loop neighborhood in record time. I didn’t want to go upstairs just yet; I don’t even know why because I never usually hesitated. I walked through the alley behind Girl & The Goat because I didn’t feel like looking at all the beautiful people on Randolph going to dinner. I smoked a cigarette in the alley and it tasted God awful, I couldn’t even finish it but I held it and looked at it in the falling snow. I hated that thing. I flicked it at the dumpster and made my way home.
Twenty minutes later the call came in that Mom was really sick and I needed to head out there. Ninety minutes later I was there with mom.
I took a leave of absence from my job. A job I knew I was not right for, but so many of us know that we are not right for a job and do it anyways because it’s 2013, and dammit we should be grateful that we have a job at all, so fake it ’til you make it. All bets were off when my mom got sick, I knew the gig was up. I will make amends for this when the time is right.
Now it’s the middle of May and I have radically changed almost everything about my life. My current reading and doing list:
I’ve changed my eating, drinking, breathing, address, job and spare time since my mom passed away. I go to yoga, I meditate with Buddhist Monks, I hike the hills (mounds?) of McHenry and Walworth Counties and every day I learn something new about where our food comes from and how screwed up the American food system is today and I am trying to discover a healthier ways through this. I teach social media at a creativity incubator and also am doing in-store demonstrations for a smart phone company (I made this connection while at a funeral, so always remember to keep your options open).
I was Meagan the Vegan many years ago when I lived in San Francisco; however things were so very different back, but then again not really. The cool thing to do was to jump on the “John Robbins, “Diet for a New America” bandwagon; I did it and I loved it, but I think I took everything too far as I was known to do. This was when I first learned how wrong the American diet was (is!), how proper food combining was necessary to thrive, all about food allergies and how poisonous Baskin & Robbins ice cream is to a body. I soon became convinced I was addicted and allergic to everything under the sun. I attended 12-step meetings, saw several therapists, tried different religions, worked with shamans in the forest, went to women’s drumming circles, had soul retrievals, studied expressive creative dance, did ecstasy naked on the beaches of Big Sur with hippies, rode my bike all over Northern California (mostly because I didn’t have a car for the first two years) — honestly it was an incredible time in my life and I will never forget the San Francisco years. I worked in SOMA’s South Park neighborhood (the exact park where Twitter and Instagram were born!) as a 35mm slide designer and then I tripped the holistic light fantastic at night and on weekends. I lived in Mill Valley with my pastry chef boyfriend and rode my bike to the Sausalito ferry to ride across the bay each day, right on past Alcatraz Island — could there be a more beautiful start the morning? No! It was cold of course, but absolutely gorgeous.
So here I am going green again twenty years later and I am basically re-learning everything — which is the cool part because I always love a challenge, and naturally it’s all different. My mother is dead now.
I don’t say that flippantly. Losing my mother was such an incredible kick in the guts, I was so not prepared. Even though I thought I was and had been preparing myself for the past two years. The lessons have been hige; my mom’s death is teaching me so much about myself and about life. I am extremely grateful for this bittersweet message that has changed my life.
I am not saying that it isn’t difficult for sons, but the mother-daughter connection is such a powerful connection, even if the two were not friends. My mom and I were occasionally friends, but mostly not. I’ve been amazed at some of the stories I’ve learned in the past few months; both heart -breaking and inspiring. Never in a million years would I have thought it would be me to have a complete meltdown after my mom died, in fact I would have wagered big money that I would NOT be the one to lose it. No Siree Bub, not me.
I did lose it. But I quickly crawled up to gasp for air and asked for help in turning my life around. I was in bad shape. Not on the outside necessarily, but my insides were all topsy-turvy. I was empty and then shattered. My mom apologized for being so mean to me for so many years. She apologized. I laughed at her when she said it, but it was a nervous laughter because I did not know how to respond. Then I saw the look in her eye. She looked away and stared out to nowhere with an empty sadness in her eye. I knew she meant it. I knew right then that she was going to die soon.
I was fired twice in 2012 from two shitty jobs, and these back-to-back firings were very challenging to recover from their blows. I didn’t get fired for lack of trying, that’s for sure. I took this last job out of desperation — even my co-worker mentioned that I seemed “very hungry” when I first started working with the group. It’s true, I was literally hungry and scared because I had to sell my truck, my jewelry and anything else of value to stay afloat. It was very scary and I avoided calling my mom for several months because I did not want her to worry.
My Monk buddies tell me there is no such thing as being “balanced”, there is only “balancing” – I agree! I will continue to attempt to balance things through thick and thin, but I realize there will be challenges and setbacks, along with the successes, and perhaps those setbacks may require a strawberry sundae. It’s starting to sound less and less appealing but perhaps some rainy day may call for a cheeseburger to make things feel alright.
I couldn’t be more inspired than I am right now to live a right life. I don’t expect perfection, in fact I don’t want perfection — I want the real deal. I intend to remain soft, spongey and teachable as I enter the autumn of my life. I want this to be the best time of my life and live well for both myself and my Spirit Sister; my mom Juls.
May has finally warmed things up in the Midwest after a never-ending winter, and now the buds, blossoms and green fields are singing everywhere — I have even spotted a real live elbow or two (a sure sign of spring) while out and about. I am on Month Two Point Five of my “time out” from the city and I continue to make good on the promise to myself that I would not get bored. Outside of work and school, I intend to find new people, places and things and interesting things to do. People live here for a reason, right?
I’ll be honest; Northern Illinois bores me to absolute tears. I know I am not long for this area because I am here for a reason and I am dedicated to discovering things that I had not known while growing up, nor back for ocassional visits. I’ve officially made peace with Woodstock, but c’mon you all drive me crazy Illinois.
When I go to grocery stores and ask if they have organic vegetables, they look at me as if I am the Creature from the Black Lagoon. A produce guy said to me, “I’ve been eating these pesticides my whole life and nothing has happened to me!” I laughed, said “me too!” and sashayed away. We’ve all been eating them but now it’s time to stop, Bubs! I don’t expect it to be Organic Town USA here, but I do enjoy the conversations it can encourage. Northern Illinois has a huge resistance to it.
I have never understood McHenry County and probably never will. I went to the local community college because I heard they had a map of all the county trails but when I pulled into the main parking lot, I almost fell out of my car. Literally. They had created a mock-cemetery in the front yard of all the babies aborted. There were vicious signs everywhere. I was aghast. At the community college. eeee-gads. I’ve often commented that it feels more like Texas here than Texas.
There is something about this county that just does not want to be budged.
So be it, I am only a visitor.
My temporary explorations must carry on! The curious mind has pushed me across the border to Wisconsin, once again. My ex-sister-in-law Wendy and her family live in Linn Township and we have long considered each other as family, even though technically we are no longer. Wendy’s oldest son, Jackson, now five, has autism and recently they added Inka, the German autism service dog, to their rowsy family. Inka was trained in Germany and continues her training locally yet has a fairly substantial bill to support her services. Wendy and her neighbors are really good about creating events to support each other and a few weeks ago they hosted a partial-walk around Lake Geneva to raise funds to defer some of Inka’s training costs. The walk ended at Foley’s Bar & Grill where they offered a special Reuben sandwich for the day and sponsored a meat raffle. yes a meat raffle, say what?! Tables & tables of meat were raffled off, I’ve never seen anything like it. I won a huge a Wisconsin salami.
So this was not only a great event to be involved in, it totally sparked my memory that there is a 20-something-mile path that goes all the way around the lake and it’s open to the public. Over the past two weeks, I have hit this trail and it is SPECTACULAR.
As you make your way around the lake, homes that are not visible from anywhere but the lakefront are visible, as are their gorgeous landscapes and lake-faring accouterments. No two homes are the same and the path is varied and semi-rugged, by going through golf courses, flat beaches, endless green lawns and beautiful lakefront patios and so on. I recommend remaining very respectful because you are very close to people’s homes, but there certainly are areas you can sit back and take in the views. I sat at William Wrigley’s boat slip to take in the sunset — very serene indeed.
I look forward to learning more about Lake Geneva this summer, especially because this is FREE! Things just taste better when they are free, yahvoh!
I am completely grateful my health has returned (WHEW!) and my legs are strong once again and ready to hike, hike hike. Ever since I read Cheryl Strayed’s “WILD” when I was in Lake Tahoe a few weeks ago, I am feeling compelled to plan a super-big hike, but not entirely the same as Cheryl Strayed’s hike of the Pacific Crest Trail.
I back-packed through Northern Arizona several years ago and hiking with a monster-backpack is very hard work — I felt very tall and my legs were never stronger. It’s hot and dirty, dusty and smelly but I absolutely loved the experience — even though a mountain lion growled at me and I thought I was going to die right there. I didn’t.
That was an experience a woman should experience in her twenties, and that’s about when I had mine. Except I think I was 32. I am looking to do something different now and will continue to research and plan.
My legs are ready to climb things again, this much I know. A treadmill will not cut it.
Next up, mom’s ashes are going for a swim. Thank you for reading my words, I do appreciate it. xo
I have never ever been afraid to be out in the world, that was until my mother passed away. I felt trapped and scared and believe me, that was death to me. I had a dream that powerful blue waters spoke to me and so I went to them. I went to the blue green waters and purple green mountains of Lake Tahoe and became alive again!
I challenged my heart to give out on me. I begged it to stop dead in it’s tracks because it appeared to have been taunting me. I climbed that mountain and my heart did not stop!
I have started juicing in the morning and it has now offically replaced my morning coffee. I didn’t intend to quit drinking coffee but I honestly feel so much better starting my day off with fresh juice, I didn’t want to wreck that high with coffee.
I started juicing at the suggestion of my doctor; when I went to see her in late February, it as as if I was trapped in one very large panic attack and I was quite scared. I had tunnel vision, I couldn’t breathe right and I was feeling very terrified. Like terribly terribly terrified. I have never once in my life felt afraid to be out in the world…. until February 2013.
Turns out my adrenals were off the charts and I had to slam the breaks on how I was living. Fortunately I was able to take a leave of absense from life and I literally shut down for about 2 weeks. I slept. And I slept. And then slept some more. My doctor prescribed xanex for me and I have not even taken one. I no longer felt it was okay to be fuzzy.
One month later I am feeling a million times better. I feel strong again and every day feels sharper than the day prior. Even my hearing feels elevated. I take deep breathes and thank the stars above for giving me another chance to heal myself. I smile when I see myself in the mirror. This is the autumn of my life and I’m going to make the best of it.
I made these types of lifestyle changes once before in my life, during my late 20s, early 30s and you know what? I preached loud and proud about how I was living and I drove people away from me. I believe I was “all in yo face” about things, UGH. I remember my mom telling me I was weird. I was weird! I don’t want to do that again and I keep the focus on me and my health, helping those around me or at least not harming them. Doing work that feels right for me. That it reflects who I am.
I also will not take this all too far nor take myself too seriously. I remember sitting in Old Jerusalem in Old Town about a thousand years ago and I was deep into a wheat grass and carrot juice bender. I was sipping on carrot juice and eating hummus with friends and a guy yelled across the restaurant to me to lighten up on the carrot juice! It had happened. My face, palms and feet had turned dirty orange because I was drinking WAY TOO MUCH carrot juice! A few weeks later I got super-sick from drinking too much wheat grass and have not been able to drink it ever since.
While living in San Francisco years ago I attempted to be vegetarian, vegan and I even gave up flour AND dairy, but I did not have much luck at it. I was an annoying Food Nazi, the worst kind of Nazi! (well, not really) I’m sure I probably didn’t go about it the right way but I did try. I would have dreams about milkshakes and pancakes and I would literally cry when I saw bread because I missed it. I was chubby and not feeling well and my doctor looked at me, grabbed my shoulders and said, “Please have a steak, you need protein.” So I started eating meat again and lost a bunch of weight. I just cut portions down tremendously and have continued that manner of eating. Like the French, but sans the smokes. For real.
Moderation Meag, All Things In Moderation. Even Muddy Water.
Some veggies put up a fight before they get pulverized:
The days and weeks since my mom’s death have been quick to pass and full of lessons, if I am in the mood to listen and thankfully I usually am. I have made some huge changes in my life since her passing and I have been on this continual hunt for information and guidance on what to do next in life. I have discovered so many things in the past few weeks and one message that came through loud and clear is that life is truly short and should not be wasted or fretted away on meaningless drivel. Which is all relative to each and every one of us.
My mom knew she was dying. She never came out and said this to me but two weeks before I brought her to the hospital, we spent most of the night sitting up at her house while she told me her directives. She had it all written down, but wanted to tell me everything. It was a meaningful occasion for me because never before have I had to opportunity to sit with my mom and talk with her — especially without beer. I sat at the dining room table and she sat on the couch. She looked straight ahead and I watched her profile. She was pretty. I had never seen my mom as pretty. I saw where I got my looks! I never ever saw my mom in this light before and that night alone healed a thousands hurts that she and I had between us.
It’s not as if I am sitting around mourning the loss of my mom, no this is not the case at all. I had essentially been prepared for my mom’s death for about two years; I’m not sure if she had had a stroke or what, but she basically checked out a while back and I was waiting until she called me in for help. That day finally came and honestly there was no preparing for any of it — it was all very surreal and continues to reveal itself in my dreams and thoughts throughout the days and nights. I find myself crying over the silliest things and cannot stop myself. Honestly, I don’t mind getting lost in the tears. But I am always surprised by it.
The first week in the hospital my mom and I got along very well, laughing together when we could, although at this point the pain was starting to engulf her, so I just wanted to be there for her. Her screams will haunt me forever because she screamed for her mother almost continually. It was like a horror movie. Chilling. As the news of her condition worsened, she began to communicate to me with her eyebrows and then soon she became angry at the fact that she was dying.
She did not want to die. Not here. Not now. She was not ready. She got mad at me. I struggle with the guilt. It was happening. Her death. I just happened to be the only one there with her.
I’ve seen two people go off to hospice and both times these people were already in some type of coma to kill the pain or whatever they were experiencing. Not my mom. I had to tell her we were going to hospice and she almost stabbed me with her eyes.
The doctors told me we had one hour to say goodbye to her and I was the only family member with her. I had to ask her if there was anyone she wanted to talk to (I couldn’t yet say the word “goodbye”). “No! I don’t know! Noooooo!”
I sent out a group text that we have one hour to say good bye to Mom. In hindsight, this is beyond surreal — a damn text message. “Boys, you’ve got one hour to say goodbye to her, but the doctors say it’s too stressful for her to be on the phone, so send me a text and I will read it to her. Or call me and I will tell her your words. Say goodbye in your heart, because you won’t get a chance to see her again.”
I spent the next 45 minutes reading everyone’s text messages to mom. Everyone’s thank you’s and good bye’s. This completely shook me to my core. I have never sobbed like this in my life. When I walked out of her room because the guys from the ambulance had shown up to wheel her out, I realized I had not said good bye. There was still a little time, but I had no idea.
When she was in the ambulance, I ran up to the back of it and jumped up and down to look in the window. “I’m here with you Mom!! I will follow you!! I will not leave you! I’ll be right behind you!! I will see you in a little bit!!” On one of my jumps up I could see that she was smiling. At me. For jumping up and down. Like a clown.
All the people I saw in the hospital who were looking at death’s door were not ready for it and were surprised that it came up so soon. When my mom was in surgery or resting, I walked around and observed; spoke to some who were open to it. You know what they wanted to talk about? When they were in love. When their children were small. The first kiss. The first and last dance. You see old and sick people in hospitals but with some of them, their minds are still young and they don’t forget love and kisses and dances and children.
So on this Monday, April 1, 2013, I found myself strangely agitated and almost angry about my lot in life. Thanks to the books I have been reading and the overall general messages I have been receiving (or misinterpreting), I was quite annoyed about what life was not giving me. I was thinking about my own death — an unfortunate side affect of watching my mother’s death — and all the things I want to do and experience before I die. I grew extremely agitated throughout the day because of all the things I have given up in life over the past few weeks, I was getting *nothing* in return.
I want to experience an exquisite love before I die.
I want to hunker down and do satisfying work before I die.
I want to give back to causes I believe in before I die.
But love has done me wrong, the chip on my shoulder from getting fired twice in 2012 is weighing me down and the slow climb of financial reckoning is taking its own sweet time. I am fucking pissed off!
I went for a sunset run to blow off some steam and afterwards I set off to find something to eat and drove past the Blue Lotus Temple. I knew there was a meditation class this evening and instead of eating, I knabbed the available open parking spot in front and found a seat in the beautiful cobalt blue temple.
The subject of tonight’s class: preparing for your death. I heard things that made me double over. I heard nuggets of wisdom that made my heart flutter. I had tears streaming down my face when the Head Monk asked if there were any questions. I raised my hand.
“I have forgotten how to be mindful and I don’t remember what good deeds are; in fact I have spent my day being angry about what life has not given me yet and I don’t think is the way I am supposed to be. I don’t want to die with these thoughts in my head. I saw my mom being angry about dying and she thought she was prepared. Please tell me what to do, I feel like I’m failing at everything in life.”
“You are doing absolutely everything right; even the place you are at with your thoughts. It was a powerful gift to be with your mom through her death and now that you have helped her, it is time to help yourself. I will help to remind you what being mindful is and suggest good deeds but you will discover them on your own, just as you discovered this. Don’t be a Buddhist; be a Buddha and you will always stay hungry. It is not too late and I am glad you are here.”
So I spoke with the Monk after class. I felt so much better after we chatted that I wanted a Culver’s cheeseburger right then and there. So off to Culver’s I went, where I not only enjoyed a cheeseburger, but a strawberry milkshake too, as I read up on my decision to become Meagan the Vegan. Moooooooooooooo!!
My mom, Juls, was a wonderful quilt maker and won many awards and accolades over the years for her art — but never really told anyone outside of the family. Even at her wake, neighbors that she lived next door to for decades had no idea that mom was such an accomplished quilter. Cousins, aunts, even one of her brothers had no idea that this is what my mom did up in her little condo; in a work space roughly about 6 by 6 feet. To see all her quilts up on display was really rather moving for me, I had never seen them in this light and it blew everyone away.
Juls was able to blow the room away at her wake because as an ode to my mother, I filled the “wake room” with her quilts and it looked very much like her own personal art gallery. It was really beautiful if I may say so myself. Quilts on walls, on chairs, on couches, on podiums, she was everywhere. Relatives asked all day and night, “What are you going to do with your mother’s quilts?” My brothers were ready to bring in an auctioneer that night! I don’t know exactly what I am going to do with her quilts, but I certainly am exploring some options.
A quilt appraisialist said that they should go to either the Illinois State Museum in Springfield or to the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska. This appraisalist never met my mother, not many did, but she certainly was familiar with my mom’s work. Juls was the recluse quilter that quietly won all the awards at the McHenry County Fair each year and came in to pick up her ribbons on the Monday after the fair — and into the fabric cabinet the ribbons would go.
The reasons why mom hid for so many years are starting to become clear to me as I sort through her things and empty out her life and it’s not always easy because I get upset with her. I wish she had let me in on some of her thoughts and not let them fester. So stubborn. Stone Head.
I always threatened my mom that I would expose her craft when she was gone and she would say, “What will I care then?” Well, ummm true but that time is here and now the first thing I had to do was photograph the quilts. This is not as easy as it sounds, as her quilts are huge, well most of them at least, and huge means heavy. Thankfully I was able to use one of the studios at the Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship (where I am now also teaching and studying, but more on that later).
I sold some of my mom’s quilts at her estate sale but have hung on to a good many. I learned that my mom had quite a following and when word got out that some of her quilts were up for sale, people came from all over the area and her estate was quickly emptied out. I am pleased about this. As well as a little freaked out by her empty house that I can now hear an echo when I talk. I wonder if I made it all happen too quickly and now have very little of her left.
I am not a pack rat. Now I am preparing to contact the museums as soon as I have them all properly inventoried. These are just a few.
My mom was never big on talking. It drove me crazy my entire life. When I saw her quilts up on the walls of the funeral home, I saw that mom said everything through her quilts. There are layers and layers of her emotions and thoughts in her quilts and I will do what I can to get people to hear my mom.