Friday, August 26, 2011

Since Last Sunday

Keeping It So Simple was created to simply journal my 49 year journey through life, keeping a record of the lessons foraged along the way. After writing last Sunday’s post, I kept going back to re-read it. Within the writing I completely see the message, the lesson; an answer simply provided to me from my morning experience as a response to my request of the Lord. But there was something more, something else so blatantly and clearly given to me which I didn’t, wouldn’t, even arguably refused to receive. My strong refusal waft not only through Sunday but continued for the past five days. The more obstinate I became the more God and Goddess; Father and Mother subtly revealed, gently offered, tenderly loved the message, “Everything you need you have in the moment.”

Since last Sunday, I have read several blog posts written by extremely talented, inspiring, soulful individuals. I have viewed dozens of heartfelt messages on Facebook. I have received loads of emails and newsletters. One of those newsletters, from, opened with a quote from Crazy Horse, “It’s a good day to die.” This quote has come to me several times over the past few months often preceded with, “Hokahey,” which means something like, “Let’s do this.” Completing the quote, “Hokahey, it’s a good day to die.” ~ In the Elephant Journal Newsletter an explanation of the quote is provided; “A belief that one should never live a moment of one's life with any regrets, or tasks left undone. Which would make today as good a day as any to die."

Since last Sunday, I have been to physical therapy twice. Thursday was my sixth visit but the first time I noticed a particular poster on the wall. It’s Yoda, yes, Yoda from Star Wars, and on the poster it reads, “Do or Do Not. There is No Try.” This quote from Yoda has come my way several times over the past few months. What’s interesting about the quote, which I had never heard until several months ago, is that the philosophy of the quote is something I have used many times in my talks. Even in the most recent one given last month, in which I reference there is no trying in life we are either doing it or not doing it. Some days we just do life better than others.
Since last Sunday, I have spent more time whispering prayers, emerging deeper in meditation, chanting more mantras, and, three times I have pulled the Patience card from Doren Virtue’s Archangel Oracle Deck. There is paint splashed around as I have FEARLESSly played, inspired by Connie Hozvicka’s BIG And, from Pixie Campbell’s SouLodge, I have engaged more with Mother Earth, learning from Her with a new perspective. I also listened to a recorded message by Chameli Aragh of in which she says something like, “…surrender yourself…pay attention to each moment as it’s an experience to offer self…”
Since last Sunday, sleep evaded me several nights. I got up, wheeled outside, and gazed into the vast, deep, midnight sky. I sought Luna knowing that just seeing her would bring joy. The brilliance of the stars from my little country home will continue to take my breath away. Each night, as I looked up into the infinite sky I was reminded of something I had written back in May, “…the depth of our being…is as the universe… beyond the beyond…”
Since last Sunday, there has been a lovely praying mantis outside my kitchen door. Each day, I politely acknowledged her, grateful she’s ‘hanging’ around knowing what good she does for the gardens. But, today, I could no longer over look ‘why’ she was here, patiently here, with me. Mantis is a Greek word meaning prophet. Praying mantis is symbolic of spirituality, intuition, balance, meditation, creativity, contemplation, mindfulness, and represents patience.  
Since last Sunday, it took all of these experiences, words, individuals, for me to finally breathe in with acceptance and expansion the ‘something more,’ the ‘something else’, the message, “Everything you need you have in the moment.”
As a reader you may wonder, “What’s the problem with such a sweet, simple message? Why did it take you five days, Jules, to get here?”
Last Sunday, when I first heard it, the message, I sat up and said, “So, you’re telling me the afternoon of February 13, 2006, Jeff received in ‘the moment’ everything he needed? That while an ICU nurse was standing over him on his hospital bed forcing fluids into his IV’s, while an ER doctor shouted orders to staff manning the crash cart beside his bed, while his head and face turned a deeper shade of purplish-gray, while a machine breathed for him; you’re telling me as death took my husband that ‘everything he needed he had in the moment?”
Before any response, I continued, “Okay, so maybe this isn’t about Jeff, maybe it’s about me. Maybe the message is only for me. I won’t even go to May 26, 1997; I’ll stay on February 13, 2006. So, you’re telling me that while I’m helplessly watching all of this going on in my husband’s ICU room, knowing our children, Jeff’s dad, mom, sisters, our family are sitting out in the waiting room wondering, praying, hoping, crying, as doctor, nurse, staff each look at me during intervals of life saving procedures, waiting for me to finally say, ‘Enough, it is enough, let him go,’ that ‘everything I needed I had in the moment?’”
For the first time, since last Sunday, I surrendered. I breathed it in. “Everything you need you have in the moment.” There is so much I don’t know, so much I don’t understand, so much I can’t wrap my head or my heart around, so much beyond the beyond that today, at this very moment I must trust everything I need I have in the moment. I must trust that everything Jeff needs he has in the moment. I must trust that everything you need you have in the moment.
I went outside the kitchen door to tell praying mantis I did it, I wrote it, I breathed it in and released it out.
She is gone…

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Good Morning

Above my bed are two large magnificent picture framed skylights. The bedroom faces west and the pitch of the roof angles the skylights ever so slightly more westerly. The afternoon sun, this time of year, can really heat things up in there.
In the evenings I open a few of the bedroom windows. Every once in a while I can hear Jeff’s voice shouting down from heaven, “The air conditioner is on!” But the country cools down at night and more often than not a breeze will blow in carrying delightful night smells and sounds. It’s become a necessity of my existence since moving here, summer or winter, to fall asleep, as well as wake up, in the ambient country air.
As I awoke this morning looking out the skylights I noticed sweet Luna looking back at me. There she was, as she has been for the past few mornings, in her waning motion, sitting high above, peaking in my bedroom to say, “Good Morning.” It isn’t always we have an opportunity to see her moving across a light blue day lit sky, so I laid there enjoying her company.
BabyCat stretched out touching my arm. He turned on his purr even before I began to rub his neck. He reminded me mountain lion came to visit me last night. ~ We were near the fire again. Wearing porcupine’s gift, I wondered if he’d come around too, but it was just mountain lion and me. I wanted to have conversation, receive a message from beyond, even learn mountain lion’s name, surely he has a name.  (As frustrating as it is to be lucid in a dream or meditation and not get my way, it is a beautiful thing to be reminded ‘self’ isn’t and shouldn’t always be in control.) Near the fire, wearing my beautiful anklets, I fell asleep next to my large, majestic, strong, yet nameless, animal totem-mountain lion. ~
Opening the kitchen door to let Cadbury out disturbed the song birds. I had caught just a hint of their morning song but as soon as the door opened they silenced, like I had interrupted a sacred choir performance. Once Cadbury stepped outside, a covey of sparrows flew up out of the Sumac bushes outside my kitchen. I had no idea there were so many little birds nesting down in there.
I watered the aging wild flower patch and smiled at noticing a few new California poppies and sunflowers opening up. My smile quickly dwindled as I noticed weeds, more weeds, oh those damn weeds. But something in the smell of the damp earth, changing colors, and morning temperature made me realize I just don’t care about those weeds anymore. Let them have their day. Autumn is coming soon and the earth around me will become like an Etch-a-Sketch shaken by Mother.
Wheeling back into the house, at the threshold was a very big black ant. At first I was going to squish it but then I remembered I had decided (hmm was it me who decided) ant is my insect totem and it is quite unusual to see a black ant near my house.  Black ants are rare here and this is the second one I’ve seen this week. Certainly two black ants don’t declare an infestation. Ant looked up at me; I thought how big I must be to it. “Go on ant, shoo, away from the door.”
Rolling through the house, I saw outside to the north, the prayer pouches I had hung with the baby grape vines. The earth around the vines was damp from the irrigation water turned on by a neighbor who knew I wouldn’t get up and go outside late at night to take my water turn. I am grateful for caring, thoughtful neighbors.
I wheeled past my little make shift alter which, sitting on top alongside a few of my cherished spiritual things, are the bottles of elemental oils I had blended a few nights ago. I inhaled deeply and could pick up a hint of patchouli, ginger, lavender essential oils mingling with the smell of a white sage stick. And there also is a set of scriptures. I picked them up opening to a page where I had a little sketch tucked inside. Next to the sketch I had written “Joy ~ is the state of the heart.” I read Hebrews 10:14 “For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” Putting the scriptures down I decided to go back to bed and watch sweet Luna move across the sky.
In the short distance between my alter and my bed I became distracted. On the other side of my bed I have a painting ‘mess’. There are two projects I have been playing with. In order to get to the other side of the bed, I had to maneuver around a large book and my glasses which must have fallen off the bed last night. I’m surprised the hardbound copy of Seven Spiritual Masterpieces’ by CS Lewis didn’t wake me up when it hit the floor. Looking at the brushes, paints, projects, all I could hear in my head was, “trust the mess.”
I plopped back on my bed to find Luna had already pasted by the skylights. Disappointed, I let out a sigh.  “Lord,” I said, “Speak to me today, let me be creative, help me to create, fill me to overflowing with your wonder and magic.”
“Oh, silly wheelchair girl,” He whispered, “Good morning.”

Friday, August 19, 2011

An Unusual Trio

About 14 years ago, this time of year, I was released from the hospital. Released, an odd word, as I didn’t feel ‘set free’ but more confined than ever; yet, released none the less to begin adjusting to a new way of life. Released into the reality of how everything in my life from the simplest of physical tasks to the most complex of spiritual thoughts, had changed. Ready or not for the change, as odd as it seemed, I was released.
A few weeks after coming home, Jeff took us on a San Diego getaway. While traveling there, we stopped in Bakersfield. I waited in the vehicle while everyone went into Arby’s to get an icy cold drink. It was early in the day but it was so very hot. Seeking relief from the stifling heat; I stuck my head out the window hoping for a breeze. I caught a glimpse of my face in the side mirror. “You look the same; kind of; maybe a bit worn.” I looked down at my amputated legs. “No, you don’t look the same all; you are changed.” A vehicle pulled up and parked near ours, breaking my thoughts.
Looking out, I watched a very large woman of about 350 or more pounds unfold herself from a very compact car. It seemed to take longer for her with all of her body parts to get out of her vehicle then it took me to get out of mine. Yet, with fascination and intrigue, I gawkingly watched.
I’m guessing because she couldn’t lean into it, the car door seemed to magically fling open on its own. Slowly, meticulously she un-wedged her core from in front of the steering wheel twisting, arching, wiggling about until facing herself towards the open door.  Like some awkward dance partner, the compact car swayed along with her movements. Her robust hands reached out securing a hold onto her partner as she struggled to lift her legs outside of the car. Once both legs were out, I watched with an unusual sense of envy, as she placed her feet on the ground. She just sat there a few moments, catching her breath, before placing those thick, round hands of hers statically back on her dance partner so it could assist her large body up and out. Finally, she was released.
I continued watching, with more awe, at her unnatural gait. She wore shorts; she was short; her legs seemed to be made up of fleshy stacked rolls. I wondered if she felt the earth beneath her. I wanted her to feel it, the earth and each step; I wanted her to feel each step she struggled to take as it made contact with the ground beneath her. As I watched her walk away, I saw beautiful, so very beautiful, miraculous legs. “I’d take them Lord, those legs, yes I’d take those legs and knees and ankles and feet.”
Because this memory has played out in my head so many times before, it wasn’t unusual for me to recall it again this morning. But for some reason, some glorious reason, it made new sense, it had a fresh lesson.
There are times when I have more pain than normal and when it goes on for days and days, it zaps so very much from me, it becomes confining. Eventually it leaks from my physical self into my emotional and spiritual self; then whips around causing an ongoing cycle which can last for quite some time. This explains why, for a while now, my prayer and meditation time has been dull, uneventful, sort of disappointing, more task like. So, with the prompting of Pixie Campbell’s SouLodge, when I ventured to enter a new meditation last night I expected more of the same disappointment, I even allowed the Brothers Gremlin to taunt me. Soon, however, Deva Premal’s Shima Shima mantra hushed the brothers, eased the pain and I was released into the divine beyond. Free, within the beyond, I am the participant and the observer.
This journey took me to a camp fire of which I was dancing around. From the fire’s light I saw and felt my feet moving, dancing, celebrating upon and with the earth below. Little puffs of dust responded to the movement. I saw and felt each bone, muscle, sinew, every skin’s cell participate in their glorious, miraculous, beautiful ability to move.
My ankles were adorned with porcupine quill anklets. They were a gift from porcupine himself who came out of the forest to join me in the fire light dance. For a while it was only him and I but soon another came from the forest, mountain lion. This majestic beast joined in the dance. He beckoned me to climb onto his back. I held onto him, feeling, seeing his muscles, strength, power as he danced me around the fire. There, in the great beyond, we three, mountain lion, porcupine, and me were great dance partners.
This morning, my first thought was of the large woman being released from her compact car, with the assistance of her dance partner. Soon I began to think of my own dance partners.
v  Mountain lion totem is protector, guardian, balance, energy, family, strength; he represents a link between self and Mother Earth, Father Sky, Great Spirit
v  Porcupine totem is companionship, innocence, security, humility, trust, memory
While I may attempt, even after 14 years, to blame my lack for doing, seeking, expressing, growing, creating, dancing…my lack for being ‘set free’ in the face of inevitable change on the fact I don’t have my legs, the truth is I am the only one who confines myself. While physically they may be missing, my legs, knees, ankles, feet are miraculously beautiful. The unusual three have reminded me I can have one foot firmly placed in the earthly realm and one foot firmly place in the spiritual realm all the while feeling each and every step beneath me. I’m sure, during this my 49th year journey, they, the three, will have to remind me of this often and each time, in its oddity, I will again be released…wonderfully, sweetly, oddly released.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wacky, Wondrous, Whatever, What If Wednesday #13

In our little country town, there is a group of women who get together on Monday evenings. This past Monday, we met at the home of one of our fellow companions, to clear out her flower bed. This sweet woman, whose husband crossed over earlier in the year, just celebrated her 92nd birthday. She’s quite spry and energetic but the gardens were mostly tended by her husband. This particular flower garden had become over run by wild yellow alfalfa, rye grasses and was full of mature sweet peas, sweet Williams, and large poppies which had already turned to pods. She told us to clear it all out but don’t touch the wild sunflowers, a woman after my own heart.
I had never seen large poppy pods and became enamored by them. The way the seeds shake out of the pods, the earthy color, their sturdiness and dimension. I mentioned how they’d be great in a mixed media project. “Yes they would and they make a wonderful dried bouquet,” she said. She is an artist and seemed grateful for my enthusiasm.
While we worked in her flower bed cutting back the out of season poppies, pulling up sweet peas, and yes, I happened to unearth an ant hole, again, I think ants are my insect totem; she was busying herself with some little project. When I climbed back into my chair, as I was done the darn ants, and began to bag the discarded plant remains, she presented me with a beautiful dried poppy pod bouquet. I was honored.
In my wild flower gardens I have smaller poppies, some are golden, some pink, others are kind of like a swirl peppermint candy red and white but I don’t have any of the large poppy red poppies. So, for the past few days, I have been sprinkling out every last poppy seed from my poppy bouquet. I’ve even found a place, where next year, I hope to have a poppy garden.
Now, one would think, if I were to do research on something, like poppies, it would be to learn how to plant and care for them. But, no, not me, I’m a little ‘wacky’ this way and needed to research the symbolism, meaning of poppies.
The Wizard of Oz is one of my top favorite movies so my first poppy thought is of the wicked witch of the west dusting a poppy field outside of Oz with poison. I can hear her scary evil voice now, “Poppies, poppies, poppies will put them to sleep.”
The poppy is symbolic of sleep as well as beauty, magic, consolation, fertility, and eternal life. Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams is represented by the poppy. Poppies were used in Egyptian burials and added to tombs. In Chinese folklore, poppies represented loyalty and faith between lovers. There is symbolism in the poppy for Christians also. The crimson color, the birth, death, renewal of the poppy is likened to Christ.
There was a time when Veterans would sell little paper poppies around Veteran’s day. When I was a young girl, my mom would purchase one and I would treasure it for months. I never thought to ask why a poppy flower, funny how I never questioned the association of poppies and Veterans. Today, in my research I found the answer to the question I never asked; and what a wondrous answer it is.
During World War I, a Canadian military doctor, Major John McCrae, was called out to a battle field to aid a wounded soldier. The soldier, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer a friend of Major McCrae’s, didn’t survive. The chaplain had been called away on other duty and Major McCrae was asked to perform the service for his fellow soldier and friend.
The following day, Major McCrae, being so distraught, not just from the loss of his friend but the horrific suffering and loss of others, began to write out his feelings. Looking across the fields of Flanders where battles were fought, blood spilled, and dead were buried there must have been something so profound in seeing the disturbed earth coved in blooming wild poppies.
In Flanders Fields
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.