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

 

 

 

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.

[envira-gallery id=”1336″]

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, I am a Texas Tree!

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.

xx

New Energy in 15, Draw me Amadeus

Draw Me Amadeus

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

 

 

New Energy in 15, Valentine’s Mambo of Love

I’ve started doing t’ai chi with fans, because it helps move the stagnant energy out and away from my body, and on this Valentine’s Day, my guy Reed joined me with his ice cream cone to dance a little t’ai mambo. There are classes on this in San Miguel de Allende btw. Hearts & Loves to you!

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:
jaws-universalcitystudios

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.

2013_sunset2

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…

bucerias_14
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!

open_water

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!

dive_mb

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.

14
Sunburnt, sore & smiling :))

xx

 

I am a Psychic.

 

psychic2And guess what, so are you! In fact, each one of us has been born with natural psychic abilities — it is our six sense and we all have one, even if it has been ignored. Much like the ability to sing or paint or play the piano, this skill can be developed with education and a dedication to nurture it, in a world that is not so keen on its development. And much like almost any other profession, there are folks looking to scam people and take advantage of the weakness of others. I have happily met some extraordinary exceptions and look to learn more from the studied professionals.

I’ve had quite an education in the psychic healing arts in the past year and a half. I never once considered myself psychic, although I was always interested in it because I was very curious about those that were psychic; what exactly did this mean? I saw stories and had no idea what that meant, so I went tripping around. As a kid, I was always being told to be quiet, don’t say that, keep your mouth shut….. and because I did not really know how to do that, I discovered ways and means to suppress these thoughts and feelings. So as I grew up, I treated it as a book that I would flip through every couple of years and then toss it aside. That is….. until my mom passed away.

I have met countless people whose lives have completely changed after the passing of their mother; I suppose the stories had always been around me, but I never heard these stories. I thought I had been prepared for my mom’s death, but even to this day, not quite two years later, her death still inspires me, still makes me cry, still makes me feel things I have never felt, but mostly, my mom has inspired me. I recently created a mission statement, and as CORNY as it is, it is oh-so-very-true for me: (yes, it sounds like a Beach Boys song lol)

“I want the rest of my life to be the best of my life and I want to share the good vibrations!”

I discovered I do have psychic abilities. That’s such a freaky word though, isn’t it? I rarely use the word because it’s FREAKY and people literally or metaphorically take a step back and put their hand up as if to say, “You will not see me.” I don’t blame them, I have done the same. Storefront psychics have given the profession a very bad name and in my studies, I learned that approximately 90% of psychics are scam artists. That’s a HUGE number of phoney-baloneys and no wonder this young woman got exactly what she set out to find; online psychic scammers. They are incredibly easy to find, so she allowed herself to be mostly scammed and willingly paid for it. Had she spent some time educating herself, she could have found a professional who could read the energy around her and with a combined effort on both their parts, she would have been left with suggestions on how to improve and/or change her current situation. It’s not hocus-pocus unless you want it to be abra-cadabra. We all have free will and no psychic has the final word on your life, nor should anyone allow a psychic to hold their future ransom for a dollar amount. This woman eventually meet someone who had energy-reading-abilities and guess what, IT FREAKED HER OUT.

I am a beginner and have immersed myself in learning all that I can about these talents of mine that I discovered late in the game; there is no clear path to educate one’s self in this manner, which is a challenge I fully embrace. I no longer even feel as though I have a choice, nor do I wonder if I have this ability; I do. Now my focus is to simply understand this thing that is in me and to that end, I am completely dedicated to educating myself and developing these skills because it is literally the things that makes me jump out of bed each morning. My hope is that everyone finds the thing that makes them to jump out of bed each morning because honestly, it’s the sweet spot for sure.

Everyone has a Sixth Sense, just as everyone can sing, but it’s a skill that must be developed and nurtured. Nothing about our American culture wants you to have these six sensory skills, let alone develop them, which is why turning off the TV and staying out of malls and bars would be a good place to start if you’re interested in develop these skills. Fortunately (!!!) I lost everything while my mom was dying and in my process of re-building, I find myself out in nature A LOT, which is the perfect place for me to develop and practice these intuitive skills. I have learned to meditate too — perhaps one of THE most challenging things to do in my life, because the world has always screamed at me and I always screamed back, that is until I discovered the gift of silence.

It is in the silence where I have learned my greatest lessons.

In the silence, I know stories. It feels as though I get tapped on my nose and then I see people and situations. Usually these situations are high-stress, traumatic situations, not always, but never a bunch of detailed information. In my study of developing these skills, I give much consideration to the ethics of this business, and have learned that it is best to never impose my thoughts or “advice” (eee-gads) on anyone, so often times, I do what I must to release this energy from me. This is where NIA dance comes in tremendously handy, and why I share my good energy tips on Instagram!

Being psychic, or rather, being in touch with one’s intuitive side (a much nicer way of saying it), is the ability to see or hear or read “energy in motion.” When I first heard this description, it made it much less spooky and less mysterious.

“The ability to read energy in motion.”

It’s a fascinating subject and there is so much to learn, so much to try, so much to see, so much to read, so much to feel! I have met some amazing people in this journey, as well; there have been some absolute nut jobs oh-yes-for-sure, some egos five times the size of Texas, but mostly I have met some of the most caring and dedicated people I have ever met in my life, and many dress suuuuuuuper-cool and have never seen an office cubicle. I LOVE IT!!

A good place to start if you’re interested in developing your own “intuitive skills” is Sonia Choquette’s “Diary of a Psychic“, and almost all of her other books. I have read most and have attended her workshops too, which are craaaaaaaaaazy-amazing!

In my late-twenties, I started on the path to discover these skills and learn more about them, but I eventually walked away, literally and metaphorically, because I wasn’t “getting it.” It was a long and interesting lesson, yet I was very, very frustrated because I learned all these things in my head, but nothing was happening outside of me. When my mom was dying and said the words, “I was wrong about you and I wish I had been nicer to you“,  it truly melted a steel cage around my heart and I was able to see, feel, hear, taste, touch for the first time in my life. My mom gave me an amazing gift before she passed away, the gift of LOVE, and so it is because of her I am dedicated to being the best PSYCHIC I can possibly be! And truly the BEST part about it is that I don’t have to be a PSYCHIC because there are so many other tremendous things possible in life now!

Now please, will you wash behind your ears before I have to embarrass you in public?

xoxo

love you

 

 

What is Nia Dance?

Sometimes I burst out in tears when I think about my mom, and I’m occasionally surprised at how close I feel to the sadness, but I don’t question it, as grief is what it is. This usually happens when I am doing the dishes or sweeping the floor or some other mundane task, but not always; sometimes it happens when I am out in public and I find creative ways to work the tears into whatever it is I am doing. I get a pang in my heart and find the most comforting thing to do is to put my forearm over my eyes and let it all hang out, even if in silence. It is usually short-lived, but bellows from deep down.

Last night I threw a ribeye on the hot iron skillet and it hit me just as the sizzle splashed up; the sorrow of my mother’s death. The sorrow of her unlived life; dreams never seen, love never felt. It is not that I wish she were here, because we did not spend much time together and when we did it was strained — or something. I cry for her sadness and how our entire lives together were summarized in those few short days or minutes before she could not speak anymore. I cry for not having a daughter; who will hold my hand when I die? But still, my mom and I made our peace. She loved me. She was sorry. I was sorry. I loved her.

I often see it as my mother slipping into a black, fiery hole, on a board that is angled at a fairly steep 45-degree angle, leading into the black, murky hole. It is a big hole and I am kneeling on one knee on the edge, with my arm extended towards her, leaning farther in as I am physically begging her to grab my hand. There are angels standing along the edge of the hole, probably about ten of them — I just counted them for the first time in my mind, because I have not paid much attention to them. My mom is slipping feet first into this hole and she is looking back up at me, reaching towards me and trying to say something to me as if its the first time she is speaking to me and obviously, it is the last time. Always in this scene, I am reaching towards her with my right arm as I have my left forearm over my eyes, as I hang my head low in deep sorrow. She is leaving me for the final time. The sadness goes deep.

“Don’t be scared, Mom”, as she slips in deeper.
What do I know? Nothing. It’s hard to know what to say when someone is dying.
I miss her. I think she’s okay. What do I know?

When I am hit with this moving picture show in my mind, and once I compose myself, I think about how much my life has changed since my mom’s death. In many ways, maybe I too was sliding into a big black hole, because I certainly didn’t feel all that alive 18 months ago. I was trapped in my own fears, imprisoned by my own thoughts and completely out of touch with my heart. I had accepted that I was getting old and that there would be no more real moments of joy nor carefree silliness in life; only perhaps drunken silliness, and this is not really all that silly, except that it is pretty silly.

I clutched my heart a lot after my mom’s death; I thought I was having a heart attack. I couldn’t breathe and I was terrified. I reached for the walls when I walked in case I fell down. I was so afraid I was dying. Nooooooo, please not like this. I found a doctor, made an appointment. Then fell asleep for two weeks.

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My first trip after crumbling was to Lake Tahoe

After I changed everything in my life, I actually started to have real fun again. My spirit came back after I left Chicago and moved to my mom’s empty place in Woodstock, where I began to pursue the things that mattered most to me. People fell out of my life, good ones and bad, as did a number of jobs — money too; oh the money went tumbling out. I started taking long walks around Lake Geneva, because I simply had to move about outside, as well as doing lots of yoga. I quit drinking and drank kale juice every morning and soon felt amazingly strong and ready for new adventures. I was breaking free of the shackles of my life, which in hindsight felt a lot like walking through a long dark hallway while being striped of every thread I wore. It was beautiful and terrifying time, and the fears of the future were loud, but my faith grew louder each day as I awoke to a new ability to see and feel…. energy. Twirling Figure 8’s are what I see, everywhere. They make me hopeful.

I am certain I will spend the rest of my life learning about energy, even though I hear those sarcastic Irish voices in my head that say, “you do WHAT Meag??! You see Figure 8’s???? Should you be driving? Are you in the paint again Meag???” I boot those needling leprechauns aside and forge ahead — they cannot stop me now because they are all dead and I am alive and roam the earth with my trusty energy balls.

I initially thought I would be an energy healer in my next career, but as I dig deeper, I am not so sure. To work with people’s energy is to associate with them on such an intimate level, which presents all sorts of ethical issues that I’m not interested in, quite frankly. I have always been a bit of a loner, so I looked to other ways of working it. Which is why I am super-glad I have jumped into the arena by returning to my first love, DANCING.

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I am now a Nia Technique teacher, although for years I studied and taught Gabrielle Roth’s 5 Rhythm’s. I loved my time in the 5 Rhythms but my life fits so much better with Nia now. However, no one is coming to my classes just yet, but gosh it’s great practice! I suspect this dance may be a bit too progressive for Dripping Springs. Change is in the air here and people are moving here in droves, but the majority of people here are young, church-going families, who I suspect are not looking to take a dance class that combines the best of modern dance, martial arts and the healing arts. I keep my heart and my eyes open for new horizons, as usual, as I look outside of Texas.

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When I taught dance in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

What is Nia dance, you ask? When founders Debbie and Carlos Rosas created NIA in the early 80’s as an alternative to the high-impact aerobics craze, they called it “non-impact aerobics”. Over time they determined the acronym was negative, so research took them in a new direction. It was then renamed “Neuromuscular Integrated Action”, but how lame is that? About 15 years ago, a truth revealed itself: in Swahili, Nia means ‘purpose;’ in Hebrew, it means ‘to create subtle movements.’ Ah, the metaphysical truth.

In Nia, we use nine classic movement forms: three from the martial arts (t’ai chi, aikido, tae kwon do), three from the dance arts (jazz, modern, Duncan), and three from the healing arts (yoga, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais). There are also 52 fundamental steps and patterns. When the custom choreographed music starts up, I move the moves by adding my own personality and style of dance, so that it becomes my dance — and I encourage you to discover your dance. This is why I really love Nia, it honors the skill level and development of the individual spirit with these age-old practices. There is no wrong way to do Nia, unless you are hurting yourself; you move in your body’s way. I learn something new each time I dance the dance and I anticipate future learning pangs.

I incorporate tools to improve my body’s energy during my class that I have learned over the past several months, and I also share them on Instagram, called #newenergyin15 . I’ve learned these tips from Lee Holden, Sonia Choquette, Lydia Wong, Donna Eden at Eden Energy Medicine ( I LOVE Donna’s energy!) and from my own inspiration, so it really is becoming my style and maybe someday I will have students!

When the tears for my mom appear, I let them hang out, because they keep me grateful and in tune with why I pursue the things I pursue. My mom’s dreams were cut short many years ago while she sat around waiting to die and then she fought like hell in the final hours. I’m attempting to mow down my regrets before they have a chance to fester; having sat with three people as they laid dying revealed some crushing views on life and I am thanking my stars above that I have an opportunity to turn my life around. Once again. 😀

My mission statement: “I want the rest of my life to be the best of my life.”
My quest to understand energy has only just begun, so do you care to dance with me?
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What’s an Energy Healer?

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“An energy healer is someone who can assist in moving your energy in an attempt for better mental, emotional and physical health.”

I’ve often asked myself what IS an energy healer and then mumble, “it’s not real”, even though I am surrounded by the study, practice and fascination of all things energy. Here is my laundry list of current energetic practices:

– Attuned in reiki — I now have hot hands!
– Student of Lee Holden‘s qi gong
– Student of Lydia Wong‘s Meridian Dance Massage (I LOVE her Mambo T’ai chi classes!)
– Student of Sonia Choquette‘s Six Sensory studies
– Student of Tarot and various other oracle cards
– Officially a NIA technique white belt dance teacher (!!)
– Each morning starts with one hour of sun salutation meditations that include the energy medicine practices of Donna Eden (and oooooh I can’t wait to take her classes!)

I also love to read about angels, intuition, psychics, faeries, meditation, mediums and have discovered one common thread in all these modalities… it’s all ENERGY. Fascinating, beating, twirling, moving, pulsating energy; I can feel it, I can change it — I have totally improved it, and I am enamored by it. Ironically, energy healing can freak some people out.

I totally get this, I have long had my doubts about energy so much so that I totally forgot about it for years and paid no attention to it whatsoever. I remember thinking it was a deceptive way of saying, “I make stuff up” or “I like to day dream and ride white unicorns over sparkly rainbows”. Even though I have always come back to the healing arts, I have been and remain somewhat skeptical about what it actually means. My Irish sarcasm runs deep to this day.

These days, however, I am more curious than anything and am ready to dive into this.

My mom’s deathbed apology totally changed everything for me, and once I emerged from the hellacious panic attack I was trapped in, I began to experience life in a very, different manner. Life suddenly seemed quiet and crisp. I felt as though I had no choice, I simply HAD to clean up my life on every level and even now, I pay dearly if I eat junk food or I feel the foggy after-effect of one glass of wine for three or more days, so I don’t drink. I feel people in a visceral way that is new to me. I hear their stories in my nose. When I am out in public these days, it is a very different experience. I am affected by sounds, lights, crowds, smells and cellphones (hello!). It’s why I prefer to be in the country now.

This is not religious experience, because I am not aligned with any one religion, although I do fall back on some of my Catholic tendencies. I believe most religions are dangerous and encourage punishing thinking, so I don’t go there. I am also quick to not describe this as a spiritual experience either, because once I label myself as spiritual, it raises an eyebrow, an eyebrow that loves to scrutinize our humanness.

I’m not into labels. I like energy. I am flawed and have bad days. I suffer rejection, but not as years gone by; I get over things pretty quickly. Including when I sometimes wonder if I am a delusional or perhaps the butt of jokes, but then I say, “who cares?”. I love where I’m finding myself these days, with its imperfections and all, and I feel totally grateful to have this opportunity to wake up. It’s what I have wanted for years.

I have also experienced some amazing insight on people in my immediate and not-so-immediate circles; I feel my nose get tapped and then I’m flooded with thoughts. It is energy in motion and I can read it somehow. I have been told I am an Energy Healer. I have been told I am an Intuitive. I continue to search for understanding.

Naturally the internet has a boatload to say about the subject, after I made my way through the ads for several local area energy healers, and if it is one thing, energy healing is vague. Rife with scam artists and bally-hoo-magical thinkers, so says Wikipedia. “Physicists and skeptics roundly criticize these explanations as pseudophysics — a branch of pseudoscience which explains magical thinking by using irrelevant jargon from modern physics to exploit scientific illiteracy and to impress the unsophisticated.”

Therein lies my challenge. I believe in energy healing and the positive changes it has made in my life, but I now am ready to dig deeper.

~~~

When I was 26, I took a job as a Production Manager at a photographic and design studio in San Francisco, which kicked off my journey into healing my inner kid, or rather, my search into “how not to be in so much damn emotional pain”. I was wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, thrilled to be in San Francisco and I was about two years sober at that time. This was the perfect city for me; I had amazing adventures on my bike (huge calves and thighs!), at my job in SOMA (it was called the Multimedia Gulch back then), and enjoying my first “healthy” relationship with a pastry chef/marathon runner, who had me running with him all over the Marin County trails.  It was a tremendous place for me to be and I was “tippy-toed-excited” about all that lay ahead of me.

I first lived on Russian Hill and rode my bike to work over Nob Hill to SOMA, or I took the fantastically aromatic #30 bus through North Town and Chinatown. The bus was usually serene and roomy when I boarded in the Marina, but when we pulled onto Columbus, suddenly the bus turned to a sea of people with no personal boundaries, nor indoor voices, all carrying plastic bags full of duck stew. I was happy to ride my bike up and over the hills as often as possible, and honestly there was no feeling in the world like blasting down the streets of San Francisco, even though that required pedaling up those same streets. I was a biking machine and I loved it!

It didn’t take me long to take notice of Mill Valley across the Bay, and within a few months, I was living in a log cabin on Mount Tamalpais and riding my bike to the Sausalito ferry each morning to cross the Bay. It was a glorious way to start and finish each day and I don’t know that I was ever in better shape in my life. My super beefy legs may not have ever been considered sexy, but they sure were strong as oxen and for that I have always been grateful. Even today, my legs are oh-so-hardy.

HIKE

It was in Mill Valley where I started to meet “energy healers”. Whhooo-whhoooo-what?  I was curious but highly skeptical, as this sounded like a bunch of hooey. The first weekend at the log cabin, my roommate had a Shaman come to the house to do a sage clearing. A what? A long-haired gentleman, dressed in all white robes strutted around the house with rattles and a lit sage wand as he traced the windows, door frames and spun in all the corners of the house.  It smelled like weed. I was fascinated and a bit scared. Was this an exorciscm? Was the house haunted? Will there be goblins and ghosts?

There were no goblins nor hauntings, and since this experience, I now practice space clearing and have learned so much about it from the powerful teachings of Denise Linn. I love this woman’s energy! I am also a fan of Tess Whitehurst‘s books on the subject of space clearing, as well. Once I started looking, the information was plentiful.

I love, love, LOVE working with energy, healing energy and learning even more about energy. It is my thing. This is one of the many gifts of my mom’s passing; and her apology to me before leaving. I finally eased up and off myself and my God, the difference it has made in my life. The message has not been lost on me at all.

But the message of energy healing was a hard one to grasp. Last year, when I was fired from yet another ill-fitting job, I found myself scrambling…. “WHAT AM I GOING TO DO NOW???!” as I stayed up all night reading about healing through reiki, angels, prayers, psychics, t’ai chi, yoga, kale, crystals, breathing, vibration, praying, chakras, qi gong, breathing, walking in nature, silence, Law of Attraction, spirituality, religion and let’s not forget the FAERIES!

“Oh my, Meagan is totally OUT THERE now.” I know, isn’t it fantastic?

The results of being at odds with myself my whole life has made for a very chaotic, albeit it, exciting life. I am ready for this new chapter as I dive into the energetic world.

Until I get my unicorn, I’ll fly without him for now… xo

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The things you discover when larking about …

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I had the best of intentions when I started this challenge; to share a part of myself every day for the month of June, and I do share a bit of myself each day on Instagram. However, I had to hit the brakes on my writing, because there was such a huge shift in my world, energetic and physical, I thought my head was going to explode. It did not and I continued to do a mountain on energy work and my inspiration have never been so charged to press ahead. I am consumed with it, this desire to push through my limits, to continue writing, to push the limits on almost every boundary in my life, all in an effort to do the things that ring true in my heart.

I’ve been afraid of being thought of as being weird by everyone “outside of my head”. No more. On this date of June 27, 2014, I no longer care if you think I’m weird, because I no longer think I’m weird, because my mom apologized to me for thinking I was weird before she died and I’m finally finally FINALLY starting to get it!

My mom’s deathbed apology was beyond a game changer for me — and I can’t stand that phrase “gamechanger” — but her confession yanked the earth out from under me, forced me to crawl on my hands and knees, shake my fist at hell and scream at the heavens; it striped me of all my earthly belongings; the things I so desperately thought I needed to look “normal” enough for this world… and I was not even happy in that world as it was all blowing up on me, but I had no clue what else to do. Much like the Titanic’s band, I hung on, singing my familiar songs of woes and going down with the ship. Gloriously defeated and striped of everything.

Except I was not striped of spirit. My spirit lifted me up off the depths of despair and dusted me off. What else would Spirit do?

When my mom was in her final hours, something happened in that room in the middle of a dreary Northern-Illinois-February-Day. There were sun rays on my mom’s face and I looked high and low to try to figure out where they were coming from, because the sun was no where in sight on this day, this week, nor this month. I sat down, looked at my mom, cocked my head to the side and gazed at her. She became a girl again. Her wrinkles evaporated, her puffiness slipped away. She was a young girl. And that young girl looked exactly like me. I sat there for a long time, looking at my mom, with her new young face and the sun rays twinkling on her cheeks. It was me, well, me before my reckless years and hopelessness.

There was hope in my mom’s face and her body was almost dead. But not her Spirit. Or was it my Spirit? It doesn’t matter.

My whole life I have been fascinated by spirits, by the afterlife, by seeing stories in my head that I was not sure of… and I kept all of this to myself most of my life because… well because my mom thought I was weird. She told me she was afraid of me and that I lived too loud for her. I asked too many questions. I was weird.

I used to struggle at the thought of people thinking I was weird, and that makes for a life lived on the fringes. But I honestly don’t care anymore if you think I’m weird.  I’ve lost everything in the world yet here I live on this gorgeous little slice of a ranch in the middle of Texas, surrounded by all sorts of animals that talk to me on a daily basis, all thanks to a very generous ex-husband, who only has the best intentions for me and wants to see me happy.

I have everything I need plus a stack of books and a mountain of inspiration to learn more, because I’m finally embracing the fact that I am not weird, that I have a very strong intuition and I can help others with my intuition — I proved it to myself this past week and have been crying tears of gratitude all week.  My whole life, I’ve been fascinated by this subject and never believed the reason I was drawn to it was because I have it too. I no longer doubt.

I believe!

My first step was to acknowledge this. And now for the good part!

Stay tuned, xoxo

Shari the Master Gardener

This past May, I stumbled into a super-funky, super-vintage and totally cool furniture haunt in Bee Cave called Revival and fell in love with the place as soon as I walked in.

The first reason is that they have a pot-bellied pig named Hamlet, who roams the property and always seems to be chuckling at you or with you, I haven’t decided and honestly don’t care. He’s cute and he knows it. He even has his own air stream trailer with his name on it when he’s had it with the paparazzi.

Hamlet

I liked this place as soon as I walked in; it’s got a easy-peasy down-to-earth vibe, the artwork is local and cool, and the furniture and decor pieces are really unique and one-of-a-kind. I’ve had a lovely conversation with every person that I’ve met here.

I attended their first Succulent Class with Shari, their Texas Master Gardener and had a fabulous time with her and appreciate all the things she shared with me. Plus, whoo-wew that’s a fancy title I do declare!

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You know how every once in a while, you meet someone you can honestly share a few of the private little corners of your life with, and that person shares a little bit of their private little corners with you and suddenly you become bonded to that person in a special way and it doesn’t even matter if you ever see that person ever again?

Yeah, that happened and it was cool. Shari has spectacular energy and I swear there’s a halo hovering over her too.

I bumped into Shari at Whole Foods a few weeks later and when she saw me, she jumped up and down and said, “Oh, Oh, Oh, I have something to show you!!!!” as she threw things out of her purse onto the counter at customer service. What could she possibly have to show me?

She whipped out her iPhone and showed me her lock screen… it was me and my succulent planter!  I LOL’d all over Whole Foods because it was a goofy photo, but how cool was it that she made it her lock screen?

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I asked Shari how she became a Master Gardener and she told me all about the program through Texas A&M and Travis County and wouldn’t you know it that by the end of that day I was signed up for the program and awaiting further instructions.

Well today was my first interview for the Master Gardener Training class, and it was pretty darn cool! Admission to the program is only offered once a year and out of everyone that applies, only 30 are chosen.  I am currently filling out the application and will submit before the June 30th deadline.

Exciting!

I’m also working at Revival now! xoxo

Living with the Cows

Last November, I attended a brilliant Sonia Choquette workshop in Chicago, along with an amazing group of my now-new-peers, peers whom share a desire to live an extraordinarily rich and vibrant life. At the end of this three-day workshop, I declared that I want to be a Modern Farmer. These words felt as if they came rushing out of nowhere, and I’m still not clear I know exactly what being a modern farmer means for me; but my path has definately veered this direction since making the declaration.

Pay no mind to the fact that I was living in my deceased mother’s empty condo in Woodstock, Illinois and was once again “without employment”, which is jargon for “unemployed”.

All things told, I knew swift changes were headed my way.

A week later I was in San Miguel de Allende for Thanksgiving with Reed Burns, my crazy cowboy of an ex-husband. We found our way back to each other, something that surprised us both because we had both said in the past that we were DONE. We have become family again and more important, are friends this time too.

A few months later, here I am in Driftwood, Texas, living in Reed’s 1940s farmhouse on a few acres of land, across the road from Reed, as he lives on the main ranch. I’ve got my dog, a new job (more on than later, when I’m sure I still have a job HAHA), and up until this morning, I had 28 cows living in my front yard.

Cows that Stare

I wouldn’t quite describe this as being a “modern farmer”, but it certainly is a million miles closer to being one than I was last November.

These are Red Angus cows, and are most commonly raised for beef production in the US. Reed’s family ranch is named Charro Ranch, and the cows of Charro have almost 300 acres to graze upon before they go to market twice a year. These are, without a doubt, very HAPPY COWS. They roam, they graze, they reproduce, they raise their young, they yell at each other, they do it all over again.

The cows arriving.

We moved the cows to this property, across the street from Charro Ranch, in order for them to maintenance the land and keep it safe from grass fires. Exactly four weeks later, there is no more grass for them to eat and this morning they went home.

The cows going home.

I adored having the cows here; there were back at the house just about every other day because they work the land in a circular motion, and it took two days to move around the fourteen acres. When they were close by, there were two gals in particular that would hop the fence and dine in the front yard. At first I would escort Helen and Syliva back across the fence line, but then I began to enjoy having them in the yard. Soon their babies joined them and I loved having coffee with the girls and their kids, every other morning in the yard.

They have personalities; some bigger than others, and I enjoyed getting to know them. There is a solid calm about cows that I really admire, they emit a calming affect. Reed thinks I’m crazy for this, but I know what I feel. My dad used to reminisce about how heartbroken he was as a teenager after he sold his favorite cow, Daisy, so he could buy his first car. His eyes would well up with tears every time he told that story and we would laugh at him for getting all emotional over a cow. “Don’t have a cow over a cow Dad, ha-ha-HA!”

I always liked that story and now I get it.

Maybe a modern farmer has cows that cut her lawn and then they go home; I’m not sure.

I am still sorting this out and I love the daily exercise of this life because although I have very few certainties, I am certain that I have never been more awake than I am these days. It’s a whole-lotta-Texas to take in, and sometimes I need a breather from all this country thunder, but *yahoo* I’m living in the Wild, Wild West and am totally grateful for this opportunity.

Next up: chickens in the yard :))

Hidden Messages in Your Water?

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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

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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.

Snakes on a Kayak!

This morning I had a early appointment in Austin so I decided to head out a tad early so I could attempt to kayak the Mighty Lady Bird Lake. I have been all around this lake, which is actually the Colorado River, but never on it, so I was excited for this outing– I haven’t been on a kayak since that chilly day in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin last Fall, when I closed out the season.

I prepared everything the night before and then just as I was ready to hunker down and sleep for the night, Reed said to me, “be careful of the snakes out there.”

WHAT? I forgot all about the snakes.  No, this is the middle of the city, there are no snakes. Are there?

Yes, as it turns out, quite a few of them. Mostly harmess water snakes, but ocassionally a water moccasin (which is also called a cottonmouth) will stalk you because of the heat you are emitting, with plans to consume you, but this rarely, rarely ever happens.

This warning did not stop me from waking at 3am to google Austin snake facts, because I wanted to make sure I was not going to die on this morning or at least miss my appointment. After reading a few forums and lists, I felt fairly confident that even if I did see a snake, I would survive.

And so it was. I was more moved by the amount of garbage in the river at the intersection of Lady Bird Lake and Barton Springs, but all-in-all, it was a lovely morning spent on the water, and I will look to do this again. My arms are sore — oh how I’ve missed this pain! I saw plenty of snapping turtles, pretty birds, fishes down below, but no snakes. The water was clear and beautiful once I made my way down towards Barton Springs. The only thing missing was Henry on the front of my kayak, and that will happen once I decide to buy my own vessel.

I rented a kayak from Texas Rowing Center without a hitch ($10 an hour or $25 for unlimited), but learned out on the water that I should check out the Rowing Dock (located just up west on the river) because they have a better selection of kayaks to choose from. Easier to manuever, sitting higher on the water.

Either way, I will continue to get on out there and do my thing… :)))

Dowsing for Answers, Can You Hear Me Now?

Basic Definition of Dowsing:
Dowsing is the ancient practice of using simple tools to interpret the answers to the questions you ask.

I have always been curious about dowsing, and stumbled upon receiving my first pendulum many, many months ago. Pendulums can be made, bought, acquired, it doesn’t matter, but once named as your pendulum, it should not be used for anything else. It should be kept in a safe place, shown some respect and used with positive energy! It may not work for everyone at first, but with practice, it can become a trusted tool. 

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My Pendulum

I had tried dowsing over the years yet never had much luck…. that is, until I tried it again last year after my mom passed away. It is no secret to me or anyone around me that the lessons of my mom’s death were [are] huge and brought about many changes in my life, including the ability to now get accurate dowsing readings.  I was a little freaked out by this at first, I mean c’mon, who’s moving this pendulum that I’m holding in my hands? Is it me or is it really my higher source, my subconscious mind or is it the earth’s energy?

I have come to accept that it is all of these things and for centuries, dowsers have been locating water sources, finding lost objects, resolving health issues, communicating with spirits, communicating with the subconscious mind, exploring past lives, and achieving personal goals, just to name a few.  Once I hunkered down and began to understand what dowsing is, its historical past and how it can work in my life, I began to embrace it and I now dowse on a regular basis.

At this point, I don’t remember why I tried dowsing again last year, but I do remember being really surprised by how accurate the responses were proving to be; and it continues to improve over time. This article, “Pendulum Magic for Beginners” by Richard Webster has some great suggestions for dowsing with a pendulum and what type of questions to ask.

Is it hocus-pocus? Maybe. I like hocus-pocus; it fascinates me and I have found that the more I trust my pendulum and honor it’s guidance, the more confident I have become.

I am a big believer in that we are all energy and we’re vibrating all over the place, some higher or lower than others. My energetic field really came into focus in the past year; I stopped hiding behind the defenses that really weren’t working for me anyways. I had to get honest with myself and make some huge life changes — which hasn’t been easy, but has been freakin’ awesome.

So my energetic field has become more fine tuned, more aligned with the real Meagan.  I began to trust my instincts and my intuition. I felt guided by someone or something and trusted it. Dowsing made sense because it is essentially my subconscious mind having a conversation with my conscious mind and this makes perfect sense to me, especially as I learn more about energetic vibrations.

#eBalls. That’s what I like to call ’em. We all have them, we all are juggling them, we all toss them around, just like Twitter pop pop pop.  I am now learning how to juggle and toss on an entirely new level and I LOVE IT!

One of the more challenging parts is that I have lost my way [somewhat] in the career department. The more honest I become with myself, the less I can tolerate working for anyone nor anything I don’t believe in. I find ways to not work for people I have no faith in. So where does that leave me?

It leaves me with more work to do.

In the meantime, I ask my pendulum all types of questions, and have found it to be a very useful tool, but not the only tool in my bag of tricks. One thing the pendulum and dowsing are never ever ever used for? Negative things. Nope. not here, not ever.

Resources:
The American Society of Dowsers, Inc.
Nicole Guillaume of Guiding Echoes: “Decoding the Pendulum
Jean Slatter of Creative Mystic: has a Youtube channel to answer dowsing questions

Sonia Choquette, “Trust Your Vibes” (or any of Sonia’s books AND workshops, I do them all!) Dowsinbgfbfbfdgbdgfbdg is the ancient practice of using simple tools to interpret the answers to questions you ask.DDowsing is the ancient practice of using simple tools to interpret the answers to questions yfgou ask.owsing is the ancient practice of using simple tools to interpret the answers to questions you ask.

Motherless Day 2014

Charro Ranch swimming hole

Every evening at sunset, I have the extreme fortune to jump into a man-made swimming hole in the middle of a Texas Hill Country ranch and it is completely invigorating and effervescent.  The water is cold, the tadpoles are lively, and the scenery is a-buzz, even sometimes with horses or cows.

I am doing this plunge every day for the month of May to help me get settled in my new house and community. I am really enjoying the land and opportunities to rub elbows with nature.  Lawdy the bugs are big and will only get bigger as the summer heats up, so I hold a respectful appreciation of all the creatures whose path I cross. My recent interlude with a scorpion in the kitchen sink reminded me of where I am and who rules the roost in Texas. Not me.

This weekend is Mother’s Day. Wow that year flew by quickly, as they all tend to do as I get older. Even with all the year’s logistical changes, the lessons of my mom’s death are still at the forefront of my thoughts and play a part in almost every action I take, every decision I make.

One year ago, I was FREEZING as I stood on a super-windy pier, tossing my mom’s ashes into the icy waters of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The ashes flew all up and around me but eventually found their way back into the water and I watched with tears in my eyes as the smokey ashes swirled away into the water. It was the biting wind that caused my tears on this occasion and honestly, I gave no thought to Juls’ ashes once they were where she had requested; in Wisconsin.

There were conversations that she would have preferred Green Bay, because she was a diehard Packer Fan. I shot that down because I wanted to keep her close to me. I was adamant that I had to keep an eye on her and make sure she was okay; although I had declined to pick up her ashes from the funeral home until this Mother’s Day. I was certain I did not want her in the house with me — but that I needed to keep an eye on her. Strange, perhaps.

My mom and I always loved Lake Geneva, but never for any shared memories, we each had our own reasons. Now that Juls was in the lake, I started visiting on a regular basis to chat with her. I honestly felt better when I would first see the lake because it felt like she was happy, finally. My mom was not a happy woman, especially later in life, but now I believe she was free. It made me smile to think she was swimming around Wisconsin, in the beautiful clear lake, eating pretzels and drinking beer with all the other Packer fans.

When I was 13, I saw the movie JAWS and I wished I hadn’t, who’s with me on that? Once an avid swimmer, I suddenly was terrified of ALL water and honestly avoided every opportunity to swim in anything other than a chlorinated pool for the rest of my days. I don’t like fish and I don’t like seaweed. I don’t swim in Lake Geneva or any other lake, river or ocean for that matter.

Funny thing happened as I started to visit Juls’ in Lake Geneva, soon I found myself climbing into the water. And swimming. With fish. Naked (when I could get away with it!). And often. I would hike around the walking path on the days I could get up to Lake Geneva and jump in where I could. Preferably at sunset.

I took a paddle-board lesson… LOVED IT, then joined a paddle-board club (“tribe”), where we went on weekend outings. I started kayaking and enjoyed this too because I could bring Henry with me. I LOVED being in the water and still do today — even in Texas, where the bugs and fish are BIG and angry!

Me, the one who was horribly uncomfortable in the water now finds comfort in the water.

I recently read “Motherless Daughters” for the first time and although it tends to mostly speak to women who lost their mothers when they were younger, nonetheless I clearly understand it to say that when a woman loses her mother, no matter what age, her life is profoundly and forever changed.

For me, this has meant re-examining EVERYTHING. I did not set out to do this, but in the year and months since mom died, I have become extremely aware of my own mortality and interested in understanding where I came from and how I became the person I am today. There is also an unstoppable force to be a better person.

I like being nice, who knew?

Not only did my mom die in front of me as we held on tight to each other for the first time in our lives, but she apologized. I may have said this before and I will say it for the rest of my life; my mom’s deathbed apology has altered me forever and because of it, I have worked endlessly to change old, tired beliefs that have never served me — nor my treatment of you.

Juls said she was wrong about me. That she wished she had been nicer to me. Was sorry that she didn’t get to know me better.

When she was saying these things, I said, “CUT IT OUT MOM! It’s not like you are dying or something!” I didn’t know what-what. But that’s okay.

My mom’s apology melted a steel cage from around my heart and this has been an indescribable feeling, and one of the most freeing feelings in my life. See “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” for a better description.

I spent my adult life reading self help books, attending workshops, seeing shamans, psychologists, you name it… always digging to discover what was wrong with me and on and on and on…. and never discovering the answers; that anxiousness and restlessness stayed, churning away at me. I kept hearing it was Daddy Issues and sure there were some of those, but nothing will compare to the freedom pill my mom gave me when she acknowledged some of the choices she made in her life — and for this, she was regretful and was sorry.

My life: changed forever.

The year has not been without heartache nor challenges; I am still recovering from the sting of losing a number of jobs, all my stuff and I lost all my stuff, did I mention this?  But at this point, this has become my Badge of Honor. I am finding my way. I found my ex-husband in Mexico and have made amends for the mistakes I made when I was his wife. We are living together in Texas now, peacefully for the most part, and with a much better understanding and appreciation of each other. He has a very big life and it has been a wonderful opportunity to get to know Reed and his world once again; this time with eyes that love and not hate.

Today I jump in the water with the bugs, frogs and bats at every sunset. I walk the fields with my camera and take pictures of cows, flowers, naughty horses and sunsets. I cook healthy meals that sometime include bacon and BBQ and am enjoying learning about native plants and birds. Oh the birds! I never noticed the birds last time I lived in Texas — and now they sing to me everywhere.

This Mother’s Day I am grateful to have a mom who gave me the greatest gift of all; the gift of a new life, a new beginning, a chance to make things right. I am a happy kid again.

Happy :)

Thank you Mom. Go Packers! xoxoxo

mom and me, 3 years ago

 

 

My first runaway Steer!

Cows at the Fence!

Recently I was driving out of Charro Ranch on a pleasant warm day, when I saw one of the workers standing out on the road waving his arms — and then I saw a cow close to the road.  One of the cows had somehow hopped a fence or discovered a broken fence line, and was now out there close to the highway.  People drive crazy fast down the Texas highways, so there’s no need to discuss the possibilities of a sad outcome here; there was no time, I jumped into action!

I had to get this cow on the other side of the fence NOW!

I obviously had never rounded up a cow before and especially using my jeep as my lasso to get him back home.  But after I cut left in front of the cow, he quickly turned around and started to run towards the main gate. “WOW THAT WAS EASY”, I said to myself. But wait, no…. there’s a cow gate at the main gate, and cows won’t walk over nor jump a cow gate to get out, let alone get back in. So as I leisurely drove back to the front gate, this cow, whom I shall call RALPH, looked at the main gate and then kept right on running. WHOAAAA NELLIE RALPH!

I ran with Ralph for about 3 miles down the road, trying to get him to turn around and stay out of traffic.  Ralph did not care if a semi trailor was hauling ass up the highway, he would dart out into the road and I would lay on the horn.  I had no fear of getting creamed on the highway; I was all about saving Ralph and getting him back home. But Ralph kept running the wrong way. I yelled at him, “Are we going to see a show in Austin??!!” He didn’t respond. Yikes!!! When I would cut right in front of him, he would back up and cross the road.  I called Reed and got voicemail; who does one call in a situation like this? Cowbusters?

Ralph & I kept running like Forrest Gump down the Texas highway.

And then a pickup truck pulled up alongside me; a woman yelled out, “GET HIM TO THE NEXT RANCH GATE, I’LL OPEN IT UP FOR HIM!” And off she blasted.

Ralph and I ran up the highway and like the friendly cowgirl said, the gate was open and Ralph ran in, without bothering to say thanks or bye or THAT WAS HILARIOUS or anything!

I got out to talk to the woman; she was the horse caretaker at a neighboring ranch and ony wanted to help — which she did so tremendously. No one was hurt, no accidents were caused and Ralph was safe inside our neighbor’s ranch! I was now so relieved and estatic about what just happened and that nothing happened except that Ralph was safe!!!!!!!!!

I made a FLIPAGRAM of the adventure! Just click this photo:

ralph

 

That was an awesome freakin’ day, thank you RALPH!!

 

Sweat out the muck in a Mexican Sweat Lodge

Temazcal at el Chaeco

If I think about it too much, I can get totally freaked out about the amount of collateral damage I’ve done to my body over the years, even though I strive to do the right thing now — I have had many mortal failures. I was quite rowdy in my youth even though I always knew that was not my right nature, I did it anyways.  I have not always treated my body with the respect it has deserved and my struggles in the wee hours of the night are how I hopefully have not done irreversible damage. I always keep getting back on the well-being horse. The human body is a miraculous healing machine with magical powers and I will always look to improve and heal thyself — even though I still stumble.

Being here in San Miguel de Allende this time around, I am all about taking better care.  I am experiencing this town with different eyes and a whole new world is available to me here, when once I had very limited vision.  There are many places to heal thyself and I am on a mission to experience these people, places and things.  It has been challenging living in my old house that is full of my old behaviors, but I am making the best of it. I am grateful to my ex-husband and the opportunity we’ve had to mend our relationship. It’s been a glorious and exciting couple of months here in the city of St. Michael the Archangel.

Once a month, on the weekend closest to the full moon, there is the opportunity to sweat out all the muck in a three-plus hour sweat lodge ceremony, called a temazcal, using aromatic herbs and wood-burning steam in a hut made of clay, at San Miguel de Allende’s 170-acre botanical gardens, El Charco del Ingenio.  The gardens themselves are not quite lush or perhaps even all that interesting, but it becomes more endearing to me each time I visit. When I mentioned to a Mexican friend that I was going to spend the afternoon there, he looked at me wide-eyed and said, “What?? Are you going to bring your cane and wear a big floppy hat?” So maybe it doesn’t have a great reputation as a hot spot, but it IS a place away from the bus and car fumes of Centro, and I am all for escaping the city buzz and taking in the many species of cacti, birds and even the cafe has a great little (mostly) organic lunch.

One really cool tidbit, in 2004 El Charco del Ingenio was proclaimed a Peace Zone by the Dalai Lama during his visit to Mexico. Five Peace Zones were designated in the country, places free of violence and arms, dedicated to the conservation of nature and community development. In a country that is being somewhat ravaged by a fierce and on-going drug war, it’s nice to know there’s a few places free from the violence and mayhem.

I attended the temazcal ceremony in January, 2014, just two days before the actual full moon.  Upon arriving and registering for the event ($350 pesos), I set out across the preserves to the historical ruins of Hacienda Las Colonias on the north side of the park and meet the Shaman who leads the ceremony, as well as his helpers, who keep the fires aglow.  The ceremony is in Spanish, and I was the only American in the group of 11, which was fine as I understand Spanish, but am not so great when speaking it.

A temazcal is an ancient cleansing ritual of Mexico’s indigenous people, very much like a sweat lodge. If you think you are going to freak out about being in such a tiny enclosed hut for a long period of time with a bunch of almost-naked strangers in unbelievably hot conditions, you are not alone.  I almost backed out, but Humberto, our Shaman who led us through the day, assured me that I could leave if I wanted to, but it really is okay once you get settled.

He was right. It was unbelievably hot and I thought I was not going to make it, but I’m so glad I did because I felt AMAZING when I emerged 3.5 hours later. I felt as though I was being smothered and freed all at once, and my mind kept playing freaky movies that I knew were in my head, but I watched as if they were on a screen. A scorching-hot-flame-engulfed-screen. We sang songs, doused ourselves in herb-soaked water and could lay down if we needed to, because the air was cooler at the ground. Suddenly time had gone by and we were able to emerge from the hut. I crawled out on my hands and knees and kissed the ground and thanked my God, the Clouds and Guides Above.

As I walked through the land after the ceremony, I felt high as a kite and precise as a falcon. I ate a nopal omelette at the cafe and drank a liter of water. I slept like a rock that night and hope to experience this again, but not every month. Twice a year sounds about right to me.

I sweated out all the demons that afternoon and felt completely grateful and sparkly to be alive. I highly recommend this experience!