Have you ever experienced the magic of a labyrinth?
Being from Chicago and having travelled a bit in Europe, I have seen my fair share of labyrinths, even enjoyed the movie, but honestly, I never paid them much mind. They certainly are pretty. I used to walk one during lunch breaks when I worked near Saint James Episcopal at Huron & State in Chicago, but I probably stood there smoking butts on most days, pondering my daily dilemma.
These days labyrinths have taken on a much deeper meaning, other than wrecking the depths of my lungs thankfully; they have become a place of revitalization. Walking a labyrinth is an opportunity to experience a divine imprint through a walking meditation, a different manner of praying. I like different manners of praying. While I appreciate mediation and continue to explore the hidden nuggets found within, I’m always anxious to get my butt up off the floor, preferring to walk, dance, hop, skip, jump as I strengthen my third eye. It works for me and through this, I discovered the magic of the labyrinth.
The labyrinth is an archetype in the human mind and represents the many twists and turns we can take to arrive somewhere — anywhere in life. “SOLVITAR AMBULANDO.” IT IS SOLVED BY WALKING says the sign over the labyrinth at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Austin. Labyrinth patterns are universal, have only one path and there are no tricks, nor dead ends. Many times my thoughts are chattering away in my head as I begin to walk, starting from the outside, zig-zagging towards the center, but the experience changed for me when I walked with a group of women on the night of a full moon in Butler Park. It completely altered and lifted my spirit — the moon beams surely helped — and I’ve been a big fan of walking in these magical circles ever since.
If you would like to find a labyrinth in your area, the World-Wide Labyrinth Locator is shock full of information and will point you in the right direction. If you have never tried it, I would suggest walking a labyrinth with a group of people because the opportunity, for me, represents life. Often times churches will offer a free monthly labyrinth walk; I like free.
The labyrinth walk is a chance to see how I navigate around and through others. Do I dance smoothly or dart sharply with my world, what are my thoughts telling me? What makes me hesitate? I have always gone to great lengths to avoid people throughout my life, but I’m changing my tune — it’s now or never. This sacred map is teaching me things.
After realizing I needed a physical break from the qi-gong training I was doing, as well as from too much exercising when under the weather, a day on the lake with friends was a great way to re-energize and enjoy some lols before the thunder and lightning rolled in. Perfect day!
Practicing stillness or mindfulness can be challenging, and even trickier for me when I do it in public spaces… but the Barton Springs Spillway was a’buzz with friendly folks, many of whom were interested in what I was doing. What was I doing? A t’ai chi move called Cloud hands in s-u-p-e-r slow mo. Slow motion is hard because I want to whizz about always, but the lessons of slowing down have been ginormous, across the board. Summer time…
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.
On a cloudy sunrise on Horseshoe Bay, three little ducks paid a visit as I did my morning qi gong, which is all about opening up my energy lines by gently twisting from my spine. Figure 8’s, beach-balling, pulling up the earth’s energy… QUACK!!
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 :))
Children do it, athletes too. When you have nervous energy in you, sometimes it feels great to shake your hands as if they are pompoms and let the tension fly out! My hound dog Bandito is with me for this sped-up version of shaking it out.
This is a great technique to wake up the body in the morning or prepare for sleep in the evening; better known as Knocking On The Door of Life. I spend much of my qigong & t’ai chi time spinning my spine for good health.
Another birthday is upon me and I wanted to acknowledge this year by doing something with my hands and not buying something, because quite frankly I can’t even force myself to walk into a shopping mall these days, even online shopping gives me the hives. I am a Country Mouse now and have millions of mouse friends to prove it out here in the Texas Hill Country. Quite happy with this and I am making the most of it, although I do miss the Big City life on occasion.
In early November, I met a Woodstock artist through Instagram named Wendy Piersall; she has created an amazing adult mandala coloring book that does wonders for quieting the mind. I have played around with zendoodles (or is it zentangle?) and the effect is similar; I start to loose my thoughts when I am lost in the patterns or colors, thereby reducing stress and worry. I may feel tense when I am about to start a doodle, but in no time I disconnect and lean into it, and the end result can be pretay cool!
I had also been doing some work with one of my energy healers in early November and she mentioned that my hands were screaming to say something. “What does that mean, should I write more?” I asked. “I don’t know, but you better put a pencil or paintbrush in them NOW.” It was true, my hands were on fire. I was constantly wringing them out like a Nervous Nellie and I had a tension in my clenched jaw that was driving me somewhat batty.
Wendy had started a 30-day 15-minute-a-day-art-project and on November 10th I said to myself, “Ohhhh for Petey’s Sake, I am going to do this 15-minute-a-day-art-project and when I am finished, I will have a nice little birthday present for myself!”
It was an awesome experience and I can totally see how I eased into trusting myself and really did let my hands do the work — after I warmed up to it. I was somewhat amazed by what was coming out of my hands and onto the paper; it had never been this easy before in my life, and I have tried many times over the years. My brother Sean is the artist, as was my mom, so I always had this feeling as if I was copying someone and thereby never really felt like an artist myself. Austin Kleon‘s books, “Steal Like An Artist” and “Show Your Work” helped me get over my unrealistic fears.
Several months ago, I started studying the practice of space clearing and have even begun the certification process to become a professional space clearer. Space clearing is the ancient practice of literally energetically clearing the space in one’s home, office, building, land, etc. It is a fascinating subject I took to immediately and have been practicing many of these ancient techniques here on the wide open Hill Country land I have the honor to call home these days. This has put me in touch with some Native American Indians, both in book and in spirit, and they too are coming through in my artwork.
I will talk more about space clearing later, as I have much more work to do before I am certified; I have to space clear 18 homes/properties before I am official, in case anyone is interested! (Seriously, contact me if you are interested in space clearing for your home or property.)
I had a blast creating a piece of art every morning; the excitement made me jump out of bed almost every day, even while traveling to California and staying at friends’ house in Austin. I am hooked and now the sky’s the limit!
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… :)))
I recently took an online photography class with Creative Live and learned some wonderful mobile tricks and tricks on my Sony-NEC5. I had not expected there being a mobile photography nod, well, well because “real” photographers do not like to bother with the mobile phones, but c’mon, we all know that our smartphones have the capacity to shoot some great images.
These are my tree panoramas shot with my iPhone 5; there are some truly amazing trees in Texas and now I want to get a reference books for them, in addition to the wildflower book. First up, Blanco Proper, then a lavender farm just outside of Blanco.
If there’s one thing yesterday’s wild, wicked storm did, it officially ushered in the hot and sweaty Austin heat; the morning started out so nice and fresh but soon turned to sweltering. Much like a Midwest winter, now is the time all good Texans head indoors or out of State. In the mean time, I hit up the Blanco Lavender Festival today, before the weekend crowds swarmed in. Lovely! Lot’s of fairy hits! I smell great right now = )
Last night there were all sorts of wicked, wild storms in the area; super-high winds, plenty of tornados and downed trees to usher in this month’s Strawberry Full Moon, that was in full glory this morning of Friday the 13th. I’m a few hours late for my Public Learning Challenge, but I think we’ll all survive — because we all survived!
One of my favorite Facebook pages is The Crafty Kitchen Witch, because it’s all about growing herbs, paying attention to Moon Cycles, invoking the power of stones and minerals, ETC., but what it is NOT ABOUT is love spells and scary-hocus-pocus trickery. I like the nature-wisdom aspect of it all.
So I find myself back in Dripping Springs, Texas; a town I honestly never thought I’d return to — nor wanted to because I never felt I was on the “same page” as this town or its people. It was full of bugs, critters, snakes, Republicans and I was bored to tears. I never looked back when I left it years ago, so it was a complete surprise to me when I had no resistance to moving back to this Texas town earlier this year.
Downtown Dripping Springs:
It’s a hum-dinger of a tiny town and now there are things to do! Places to go, people to see! There was nothing here in 2005 except a tiny (gross) grocery store, and a newly minted liquor store because Hays County had been the “dry county” for…. well I think forever and it had recently been declared NOT DRY, so yes, there was a liquor store too. The feed store was about the only business that had wifi and people would line up their trucks out front with their laptops to steal the internet. It has only been very recently that we’ve been able to get internet service out on the ranch; and even so it’s satellite service, which means we have to pay for each and every little kilobyte of internets.
I do believe, however, that Dripping Springs is just an idea, as there is not much to it (yet), but it’s a place where people want to escape to. It’s motto is the “Gateway to the Hill Country” and many people trapped in Austin and other cities, dream of getting away to the Hill Country and enjoying the Texas countryside, but few have access to it because there are so few parks and wildlife areas. I am totally grateful for the land that I am living on, with my ex-husband, because it is essentially our own National Park. I’m know this will change in the coming years, as there’s a mad dash to conquer the Hill Country. For now, I love the small town feel to it, I hear the schools are the best in Texas and aside from the sweltering heat and fiery fireant bites, it sure is purdy.
The booze-hounds have CRUSHED Hays County! And I concur it is all very interesting indeed.
This is my slice of Dripping, although I should probably mention that I live in Driftwood, an unincorporated community and even smaller than Dripping with nothing but a wonderful Italian restaurant, a legendary bbq joynt, a post office, a church and a few wineries. I am totally thrilled and grateful to call this funky part of the world my home for now.
When I lived in the Hill Country in the mid-2000’s, I barely noticed the colorful array of wildflowers that blew up the Texas roadways come each Springtime, but that wasn’t the case this year. As soon as the State’s prized first bluebonnet showed up in late March, I was all over them with my new Sony-NEC camera, and I have since taken quite a fancy on all the wildflowers I am being assaulted by.
Reed came home one day with a book for me, to help me easily identify the flowers I was exploring with my camera, called very simply, “Wildflowers of TEXAS” by Geyata Ajilvsgi.
Ms. Ajilvsgi (no clue!) is a native plant expert on all things Texas, and the book is broken down by colors, because that’s the first obvious way to describe a flower you’re trying to identify, as I’ve not heard anyone ask the question, “well it’s a low, upright, rough-hairy perennial, almost shrub-like, standing about 9 inches high…”
Botanist humor, how’d I do?
I’ve learned quite a bit with this informative and easy-to-figure-out wildflower directory, but I’ve got nothing on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Aficionados of the Central Texas Area just yet. I do keep this book handy, however, because everytime the wind changes or there’s a spot more moisture in the air, a new flower seems to pop up, and then *poof*, gone in a blink.
I’ve totally been having fun running around shooting the Texas Wildflowers, that is until the fireants took me down a notch and all five bites on my feet got infected and I was out of the game for a few days. I’ve been told I need to carry an epi-pen now….. it’s that serious.
Now I get to wear my cowboy boots all hot sweaty summer because my bare feet should never come in contact with the Texas soil ever again in my life. Why is this State so dramatic?
Sure is purdy though; here’s a few of my shots that I was able to identify & tag on Instagram:
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.
I have a new Sony NEX-3n camera and I took it for a spin on our mini-road trip through the Texas Hill Country to see the wild flowers; which ironically were not out, but they are out in full force in our front yard. Still a fun two nights cruising the countryside. Texas LOVES Texas. xoxo