Relax.

Relax.

You would think I would learn my lesson on burnouts after having caused many in my lifetime…but here I am completely running on fumes.

6 years ago I went and saw an ear, nose, and throat doctor and they performed allergy testing on me. The conclusion of the test was that I am allergic to literally everything, except for dogs and cedar. They advised me then to promptly start immunotherapy allergy shots. I had a consultation with the insurance gal at the office and my eyes bugged out of my head. For a girl who could barely pay her rent at the time, I couldn’t fathom spending $50/week for injections plus some $700 every few weeks for my serum to be made. They had also done a CT scan and showed that my sinuses under my eyes had completely sealed themselves off, which is my I kept getting reoccurring sinus infections. At one point I was on 3 rounds of antibiotics for a month and steroids. I was miserable but hopeless that I could afford the treatments I needed. Fast forward to last summer. The symptoms were excruciating. I went to a new ear, nose, and throat doctor and got tested for allergies again. They had gotten even worse. Not only that but I was diagnosed with asthma. I finally relented and started the shots plus a Kenalog (steroid) shot every 3 months to help with my breathing. Again, finances got the better of me and I had to stop the immunotherapy shots. Not only were the finances difficult, but the debilitating anxiety I felt getting the shots. I had to sit and be monitored for 20 minutes to make sure I wouldn’t go into Anaphylaxis. I did the shots for a few months but after I swiftly racked up a $1000 bill I quit. Here I am today on the heels of a VERY busy week. I work two jobs now, attend AA meetings, do step work, have a social life (even that is laughable because I have hardy any time), had some visiting time with my nieces, lunch dates for business, cleaning and maintaining my household, training to be the best broker I can be, and collapsing into bed at night to sleep a few hours and do it over again. The result is I am very sick again. I had an almost 102 degree fever yesterday. I was shaky and sweaty, my sinuses were in pain, and my lymph nodes in my neck were painfully swollen. I had to miss work and I had to reschedule an MLS class I had signed up for. I also couldn’t go to my usual Monday night AA meeting. As much as I wanted to get up and get things done my body was stubbornly telling me NO!

To me it was the universe’s way of saying it’s time to slow down. Find a balance. I am a Libra, therefore I NEED BALANCE or I feel depressed or out of wack. I have been also suffering from little bursts of depression that sap me of my energy and will to get all the things I need to done. I think its because I haven’t really done anything for ME lately that doesn’t involve work. I did get my hair done on Friday and it gave me such a little boost of energy to be able to relax and enjoy some social time with my friend, but that is a once every 6 months deal. I have so many things I love to do for myself spiritually and mentally that keep me energized and healthy but I have been too focused on working and other things. Its led me to a burnout, which I always come out of on top. On Thursday we leave for Iowa to visit my boyfriend’s kids and his grand baby. It will be a nice way to unwind from all the stress we have been going through.

We should never get so busy living that life starts to pass us by…or worse starts to take its toll on our health. My ENT advised me that without sinus surgery and shots I would be susceptible to getting sick, and getting sick often. With self care I have managed to avoid surgery and getting sick, but  when all you do is grind, its inevitable that you will wear yourself down. Do something to relax for your mind, body, and spirit. I know that tonight I am going to make meditation and relaxation a priority. This is why we have the phrases like “take time to smell the roses” because it is TOO easy to get caught up in a cycle that leaves us worn out and wanting more from life. Take care of yourself. Be kind to your body and soul. Take a deep breath and RELAX once in awhile.

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Fragments.

Fragments.

Do you ever sit and take an inventory of all your broken hearts, all your low moments, all the times grief has stricken you down? I do. Sometimes I sit in stillness and the wounds open up and pour back into my heart and into my head and make me believe I am not worth anything. As far as flaws are concerned I have more than I care to admit. I try to right them and then life comes and kicks me down. I haven’t ever really been one to stay down for long but maybe, just maybe, I should have stayed there awhile. Maybe, I should have rested while I was down. Processed. Healed. Mustered my strength then got back up. Instead I stood on a twisted and broken soul and took off running and now I don’t know if I can repair it. I did the same thing to my right ankle. I tumbled down a mountain with a snowboard strapped to my foot and got up and kept snowboarding and walking on it despite the protests it was giving me. Now I can’t rotate my right ankle. I still haven’t gone to a doctor.

I guess another flaw I have is taking all my time healing others and never putting myself back together.  I guess I just hoped the fragmented version of myself would suffice to get me through.

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Things Are Different.

Things Are Different.

Today things are more different than they have ever been in my adult life. For a gal that hates change I am surprised to find comfort in this.

Today I have 30 days of sobriety. 30 whole days of abstinence from any mind altering substances. Everything that my being touches is different now because of it. My relationship. My joys. My sorrows. My friendships. My day to day schedule. Everything. Where there was once chaos, restlessness and despair there is now stillness, contentment, and warmth. Sobriety alone does not give stillness, contentment, and warmth. It comes to you because you no longer forget what you have said or done the night before. You no longer wake up with shaky hands, heartburn, and dizziness. The warmth spreads to you from the hugs of the friends you have made who are also following their faith and the AA program to live a life worth living.

I no longer have to run away or escape my own mind. I can sit in stillness with myself and sort through thoughts and feelings without self loathing and anger. Of course 30 days is a tiny amount of time sober in the grand scheme of things so imagine how much better it will be in 60, 90, 1 year, 2 years….When you have willingness, drive, and faith while working the program IT WORKS. Not like the saran wrap shit you buy on Facebook to make you “skinny”. When I say IT WORKS I mean “it works, if you work it and we are all worth it”. Just like your physical fitness it takes blood, sweat and tears. There is no saran wrap that will make you skinny and going to meetings won’t cure your disease alone.

Although I do not need to explain to people how or why this thing works or what it means for me and my future…I understand the natural curiosity of it. So I thought I would delve a little deeper into what I have learned about alcoholics as a whole my 30 days in the program. I will tell you that although the big book and the twelve steps and traditions books have helped educate me greatly, it was the stories and women that have shared that have taught me more than anything. Here is a little FAQ and answer for y’all who still can’t quite grasp the concept of “never drinking again.”

Q: So you’re never going to drink again? Ever? Not even a little sip?

A: The short answer is no. I am not. No communion, no champagne toast at my wedding, no celebratory shots at a bachelorette party…never. That is the goal anyways. We do not live by the motto “for the rest of my natural life I will not drink” in the program. We say “one day at a time.” Why? Because have you ever thought about taking on a lifelong commitment and freaked the fuck out about the monstrosity of it and felt like you needed a drink because SAME. We don’t put that kind of pressure on ourselves…24 hours at a time is a lot easier to tackle than a lifetime.

Q: Why can’t you just drink a little?

A: I have answered this before but my understanding of the disease has grown and so therefore my answer has expanded as well. We alcoholics consider that we have an allergy to alcohol. A lot of people have a hard time believing this or wrapping their heads around it…but let me explain in a way that makes sense. A normal person eats a shrimp and they go about their day without a second thought. A person allergic to shell fish or shrimp takes a bit and they react. They can’t breathe, they itch, they swell, their whole day is FUCKED. A normal person drinks a beer and goes about their day. An alcoholic drinks a beer and they react. They OBSESS on needing more. They drink a six pack and REACT in a way that is not normal- anger, sadness, aggression, etc. YES, normal people can react the same under the influence of alcohol, but a normal person can stop well before that point where you will find an alcoholic cannot.

So someone was asking me about the above and I thought I was phrasing it in a way that would make sense. I asked “would you ask a heroin addict if they would shoot up again?” thinking that made for a very clear and concise answer that I intend to not drink again. It didn’t. So let me set the record straight on that. ALCOHOL IS A DRUG. It is legal, it is socially accepted. No fuck that, it is socially worshiped….but I can assure you its effects are quite as powerful as heroin. Just because you need less heroin to get fucked up than you need vodka does not mean that it’s power over the addict is any weaker.

 

So what is next? I don’t know. All I know is what I am doing in this 24 hours….I am spending the evening with my sponsor and my home group and tomorrow making banana pudding cupcakes. It might not sound like much to you, but to me it sounds like peace….stillness…serenity.

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The Universe’s Version of PMS: Mercury Retrograde.

The Universe’s Version of PMS: Mercury Retrograde.

Many people, if not all of us, have heard of Mercury in Retrograde. But what exactly does it mean and why do we blame things on it?

HISTORY 

First and foremost, we refer to Mercury (and other planets) being in retrograde when they appear to be moving backwards through the Zodiac…this is referred to as retrograde motion. Planets in retrograde can cause frustration, confusion and a number of other unpleasant events. Astrologers have been researching and writing about mercury in retrograde since the mid 18th century. Scientists will tell you there is no evidence to support that retrograde effects humans whatsoever. It’s up to you to believe what you will.

WHY DO WE FREAK OUT ABOUT MERCURY IN RETROGRADE 

Astrologically speaking, Mercury is a very important ruling planet. Mercury most importantly rules communication. It is said to also rule things such as electronics, travel conditions, our ability to make wise decisions, etc. etc. With it ruling so many aspects of life, you can see how such an important planet going through reverse in the zodiac could negatively effect you.

WHAT CAN HAPPEN

With Mercury ruling our communication sector do not be surprised if you are butting heads with everyone you come in contact with. It may even feel like you are speaking different languages. It is best to understand that at no time during a Mercury Retrograde argument either parties attending a verbal show down will win. This is the time to agree to disagree before you shout your relationships with others right down into the ground. Who else is reading this and worried about WTF Trump and Kim Jong Un will do while we are in retrograde? Jesus take the wheel.

It is generally advised (since I don’t know when….all I am passing on is what I personally know and have researched on retrograde) to avoid travelling, signing contracts, purchasing new electronics (or be prepared for existing ones to go haywire), and making any big decisions.

We are on our third Mercury in retrograde this year. It is not feasible to avoid life altogether during retrograde but there are things you can do. The second retrograde of the year I traveled to NYC and a nightmare ensued. I know better than to not protect myself during retrograde and prepared some glass jars of Comfrey, protective salt and herbs, etc that are rumored to keep you safe while traveling. Well, I was very active in my addiction to alcohol and got fairly trashed before leaving for SeaTac and left them at home. On my way home from NYC I had a connecting flight from JFK at LAX.  I got stuck on the tarmac for an hour and missed my connecting flight. I was put on standby for 4 hours and almost didn’t get a seat on the stand by flight. Some call that a risk you take traveling, I call that a direct result of mercury being in retrograde. This retrograde I am travelling to Iowa and have connecting flights, but this time I will be prepared as best as I know how with my sobriety keeping me in check.

TOOLS FOR RETROGRADE 

I am aware that not all of my blog followers have a full arsenal to battle retrograde but I will add as many options as possible, plus where you can get some extras if you so wish.

CRYSTALS – Any protective stones (tumbled or raw) are good to keep with you. Black Tourmaline is a good stone to clear anxiety and chaotic energy. Crystal Quartz and Amethyst are great go to protection stone. Amazonite is wonderful at helping with communication, a key during retrograde. These are just a few suggestions. If you have crystals that you have a fondness for already, those will have just as strong of a protecting force over you. If you do NOT have any crystals, you can google local shops (if you are local to me I of course go to the Crystal Voyage in Tacoma). There is also a wonderful Etsy shop I recommend to all newcomers to crystal purchasing because they have a fabulous and economic starter kit for chakras that includes 7 chakra stones, an abalone shell with stand, sage smudge stick, and a wire cage necklace to put your crystal of choice in and wear (link here: The Chakra Palace Etsy)

SAGE, SMUDGE STICKS, INCENSE & CANDLES- All of the above are well known for their cleansing properties. I of course have  my own tried and true methods that work well for me. If you are new to cleansing or smudging, retrograde is a great time to learn! I like to smudge my house on a regular basis. Even if it just means lighting a smudge stick and letting smoke on its abalone shell stand. For times like retrograde a full smudge of the house might be necessary…all that insane energy is floating around and you are sleeping and living in it’s midst. There are smudge prayers online or you can be like me and make up whatever feels right for you. I like regular white sage smudge sticks but they can sometimes get a little stinky and upset my allergies. Another alternative is Palo Santo. It’s a little wood stick that smells slightly woodsy and citrusty when burnt. I also have REALLYYY pretty floral smudge sticks I have purchased off Etsy for special occasions. Whatever you use, just make sure the intent is there. Incense are an alternative to sage and can be found fairly quickly in stores if you don’t have any smudge sticks. They also work to clear the air of negative energies. White candles are also known for their cleansing powers. Whenever someone comes over during retrograde light a white candle and their energies will not linger behind them. It can be any candle, scented or unscented, again this is about your intent! It doesn’t matter if you got it at the dollar store or an Etsy hippie shop…it’s what YOU make of it. Here is my favorite Smudge store on Etsy they have beautiful smudge sticks, loose leaf sage, and palo santo! Saracen Provisions Etsy

OVERALL: DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE, DON’T SIGN A CONTRACT, AND USE YOUR NOGGIN’

It isn’t guaranteed that something will derail in your life just because Mercury is in Retrograde, and many people don’t even notice it at all. I feel like I am in a perpetual funk during retrograde. It is like a big, bad case of the Mondays over and over again or really horrible PMS. Thankfully, it ends on September 5th and we will have fall festivities right around the corner and many moon phases to clean up whatever shit show Mercury leaves behind.

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But You Don’t Look Like an Addict.

But You Don’t Look Like an Addict.

I want hit you with some cold hard facts about addiction.

There are myths and legends abound about what an addict is composed of, what we do, how we think, how we feel, what we deserve and what we don’t deserve. With all due respect…until you have experienced the dark depths that is addiction, you don’t know shit. We are ALL human’s and the degree of our suffering varies from individual to individual.

I am a 5’1″, blonde haired, blue eyed girl with a sunny disposition. I smile at every stranger I make eye contact with and car karaoke to Britney Spears and Taylor Swift. I meditate and pray to reiki music and use the healing touch of reiki to help others. I like to cook and walk on the beach and collect seashells. I hike and revel in the beauty that is the pacific northwest. In all senses I come across as a very “normal” and peaceful person. Just because the vessel that is carrying out these day to day motions looks calm and collected does not mean the soul that resides in it is calm. Stevie Nicks says “Never have I been a calm blue sea, I have always been a storm”. I am both. On the outside I am a calm sea, on the inside I am a storm. Not always…but that darkness is in there.

Addiction is not prejudiced. It touches the religious, the atheist, the broken and downtrodden, and the CEO’s of major companies. It grips women and men, young and old. It suffocates gays, straights, every national origin and race. It kills the rich, the poor, the beautiful and the ugly.

You get the point…addiction runs rampant like a tornado picking up and destroying anything that happens to be in its path. Now let’s talk about the aftermath. You have finally come down, fallen on your face which we refer to as our rock bottom and realize you can’t go on like this. This is when we tentatively walk into our first meeting with our eyes on the ground. Uncomfortable with the warmth and hugs being passed around between these humans that seem so different from you, who are actually the same as you. Laughter and joy swirls around the room on the wings of the scent of percolating coffee and you wonder how these people are so happy when they don’t “get to” drink? This is what they get to look forward to? Sitting in a circle talking about the shit show they have made of their life? You sit silently your first few meetings still digging your heels in the ground. Reading the book letting it flow in one ear and out the other. Sometimes, a lot of the the time, we relapse. Rock bottom comes faster and harder this time. A month has gone by and you’ve been on a bender that has left you shaky in the hands, weak in the knees, sick to  your stomach and ashamed. With heavy feet you walk back into that room and as if time hasn’t touched anything, they are all still there. Hugging, laughing, and sipping their coffee. Still happy, still not “getting to” drink…and then you realize…its because of their lack of drinking, its because of their supporting hugs, emotional outpouring, and acknowledgement that they are the ones smiling. A little bell goes off in your brain, you lift your heels out of the mud and you pick that book back up with a new drive to learn how to do this too. A week goes by and you are almost out of the woods with your withdrawals. The night sweats are gone, your mind is more clear and you are soaking up the message AA (or NA) has to offer and opening up your wounds to begin healing them from the inside out. You begin to have a subtle obsession with recovery rather than alcohol or drugs. All of a sudden free coffee and women’s meetings are you new liquor store. You feel euphoria walking into church rooms and hugging those women and men who not long ago felt like weird, foreign creatures. They are now your family. Your friends. Your life line.

All that sounds rosy and fantastic and like the happy ending of the story has come. The truth is the ending never comes for an addict. I do not desire to drink, but I crave the drink. I don’t want to be drunk, but I miss being drunk. To “normies” that makes no sense and is a total contradiction but I guarantee most addicts will understand….we know we cant drink and we really don’t want to, but yes we do. I know I can’t sit on my deck and watch the sunset with a glass of wine. It never ends that peacefully and it is not a moment of serenity. The first glass of wine turns into two bottles and a hellacious mental ordeal. At one of my women’s meetings we read a story in the big book and this line from it knocked the wind out of me with its truth “that special relationship with alcohol will always be there, waiting to seduce me again. I can stay protected by continuing to be an active member of AA”. So you see, the work of the 12 steps never ends. The choice to stay sober is a DAILY choice. We do recover but it is an everyday effort. You cannot give us a pill and we are magically cured. Actually, if there were a pill we would probably become addicted to that.

When we speak about recovery we speak with gratitude, joy, and appreciation. We rarely talk about the parts we all know to be true though. We feel anger, stress, desire to give up, we scream into our pillow “why am I like this”, and we sit in the midst of emotions we have suppressed with booze or pills that are now crashing over us like waves that want to take our life. But this recovery thing is a journey….the ending of this journey doesn’t come until the vessel that carries our soul has expired. But I promise that journey will fill you far more than any substance ever could.

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Full Moon in Aquarius & Lunar Eclipse

Full Moon in Aquarius & Lunar Eclipse

Happy Full Moon in Aquarius Monday! Not only is it a full moon but it’s a lunar eclipse! Normally I put a lot of focus on full moon rituals and setting my intention for the upcoming weeks but I have read and its been advised to not do too much spell work during a lunar eclipse. Usually I would feel fine ignoring this rule…it’s whatever you feel comfortable with and I feel quite comfortable and sane doing rituals during any moon phase but I am at a colossal turning point and am going to take this time to relax.

Saturday, August 5th I re-took the real estate broker’s exam for a Washington State License to sell real estate. The first time my heart, soul, and mind were not in the right place. This resulted in me failing by 5 points. I was so upset with myself.  I began studying harder than ever before while simultaneously working on my spirituality and sobriety. I began praying harder, working on my 12 steps, working with my sponsor, attending more meetings, meditating, manifesting, and had overall pretty good balance in terms of how I was dealing with work and personal life. The Thursday before I took the exam I met with the designated broker of Berkshire Hathaway and fell in love with the office. She is a big believer in manifestation and the law of attraction. My heart and soul felt like it was home there. I could feel the energies swirling around me and just knew I could do great things with that office…so I have officially decided to sign on with BHHS this week!

Fast forward to Saturday. I was feeling confident, well rested, alert, and ready. I realized this time how detrimental it had been going in with so much weight on my shoulders the first time. I had an almost identical exam but I was not reading the questions correctly at all when I originally took it. They throw in a lot of trick questions and if you aren’t completely focused you are likely to choose the wrong answer. I passed this time with flying colors!

Since celebrating by societal norms with booze was out, my boyfriend and I decided to go to the casino with my dad, step mom, one of my brothers and his girlfriend. We like the buffet because hello….food and family time! Josh and I also did a little gambling at the slots and came up on some money! Overall it was a very pleasant evening and great way to unwind and celebrate the end of the grueling studying and all my hard work.

Yesterday was the first Sunday in months that I haven’t had to study, do some big project around the house, or meet people. My boyfriend worked so I enjoyed the day at home doing absolutely nothing but watching chick flicks and reading. It was so out of character for me to be able to relax and take a breath but I knew it was needed. I am prone to going, going, going and this leads to burn outs. I can’t believe I haven’t burnt out between immediately signing up for real estate school after graduation and so many other things going on in my life.

There is still a busy sort of chaos buzzing around in my life especially with the anticipation of getting signed on at BHHS. I want to hit the ground running and hit my financial goals for the summer. This is why I am taking this lunar eclipse to simply be. Not be busy, not be stressed, not be all over the place…just BE. Be still, be calm, be relaxed.

AA, social life, family life, and boyfriend time keeps me plenty busy (and crazy at times). Not only that, but Mercury is going into retrograde on August 12th and will be lingering well into September. We are travelling during retrograde which is always a nightmare but I think I have enough tools in my tool belt to keep me sane. Therefore, there is no better time than to use this full moon to soak up the warmth of accomplishment, love and blessings!

If you find yourself in a similar position and need some ideas for a relaxing moon ritual here are some things you can do (or I plan to do) pick and choose as you see fit, but whatever you do, make sure you are 100% relaxed and open:

♥ Relaxing Bubble Bath– Use sea salt, essential oils, herbs, and incense to make it even more special. I like to line the tub with my favorite crystals and candles as well. The oils I prefer for relaxation or Lavender and peppermint (mixed). The lavender relaxes and the peppermint uplifts. My favorite incense to use to relax is bamboo or lilac (but I also have an Isis moon incense I love!).

Meditation– I know meditating is hard to do when there is a lot of energy going on but it is a perfect way to really relax and absorb what is going on around you. Even if it is just for a few moments, take those moments to thank yourself and the universe for always being there for you. Take slow deep breaths and inhale all the love that is surrounding you that you may take for granted on a daily basis. Exhale whatever is no longer serving you. I personally am a fan of lighting a shit ton of candles when I meditate and rubbing special blends of essential oils on my pulse points and breathing in deeply.

Creative Projects– I don’t mean getting out the hammer and tackling a Pinterest project like making a headboard out of pallets or anything. If that happens to relax you then do you…but those types of projects often result in tears of frustration and injury on my part. Recently I have started doodling and coloring. It has a similar effect as writing does for me, except it requires a lot less thought. It’s just getting feelings down on paper in a pretty way. It doesn’t have to have order, be perfect or make sense, so long as it comes from the heart and has a calming effect on you.

Bask in the Moonlight– I ALWAYS try to get outside to look at the full moon. I put my crystals out and my pickle jar full of water (to create new moon or full moon water that I use to bless my altar and my house).  Sitting out there and soaking up the energy always helps revitalize me. Truth be told I do not do this every full moon, especially in the summer because I am old and go to bed early. But this is a lunar eclipse! Tonight there will be special arrangements made.

If you find yourself very busy like I find myself tonight, do not feel bad if you need to do this tomorrow. The full moon energy lingers for a few days. Tonight it just so happens to be the strongest. I am doing one on one work with my sponsor and then going to a meeting, so I cannot fully dedicate my night to moon work and THAT IS OK!

I hope this moon finds you in a place of contentment. If not, manifest it and relax tonight. You deserve a little moon glow evening of relaxation.

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Stay Tuned.

Stay Tuned.

I have written 4 or 5 drafts and deleted them over the past week. I did manage to get through my 14 days post but as I said, it was nothing profound.

I guess I am feeling stretched thin by life. I am not complaining by any means. I am beyond blessed. My days consist of work, gym, meetings, and studying for my exam. I am working heavily on my recovery and my relationship with everyone in my life on top of trying to pass a very difficult exam. Without any mind altering substances I have no way of numbing my stress or my pain and I am reflecting on so many things that I do tend to feel exhausted and overwhelmed. Sometimes it’s the good kind of exhausted. The kind you feel after you have run a half marathon. Your legs are jelly and you’re ready to fall into a blissful slumber with the knowledge you have succeeded greatly. Other times it’s saturated with anxiety and traumatic flashbacks. I know this is part of the process. I know this is a fundamental part of my recovery and I embrace it in any way, shape or form it comes to me. Thank GOD this program requires we only focus on one day at a time, because if I had to try and figure out how to survive tomorrow I would be toast. I would be sitting at a bar trying to drown out anxiety from a day that hasn’t even come yet.

Ok, so enough about that! The blog is going to start balancing out just like my life. I will of course continue to document my recovery journey but I also am going to start something new. Something I reserve for my private journal at home, and that is my “card of the day” for tarot. I was dedicated to memorizing the major and minor arcana and posting whole suits at a time but it’s too time consuming. I CANNOT promise I will post every day, but I will pull a card each day and explain the meanings and uses from time to time. I also am going to be doing a big segment (again) on the solar eclipse and moon phases coming up!

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