—A Through-Hiker I met on the Continental Divide Trail
Hi Everyone! Happy 2017!
It’s sort of raining here, a cold mist that never really falls but never really goes away, either. All this sloppy humidity made me sort of long for the desert, which made me think of the guy I met on the CDT, near Skull Bridge, outside of Abiquiu, New Mexico. It was so hot and dusty that day, and yet here was this guy, Daniel I think his name was, happily meandering through the desert, headed deeper into the Chama Wilderness. I shared my water with him, and he shared some gorp, and we talked for awhile before heading in our different directions.
He was one of those people you just know is a Spiritual Badass: Always seeking out the lesson; always sharing and giving love to strangers; always present to the fact that mostly happiness is a choice, especially when you are hot and tired and thirsty and still have several hundred more miles of mountains and rattlesnakes to hike before you reach your goal. We talked that day about how every person you meet, nameless Trail Angels among them, becomes part of your story, and you become part of theirs, simply by virtue of how you treat them. They may not remember your name, but they will certainly remember how you made them feel.
I was thinking about him, because I was thinking about how many of us don’t live our dreams or take the time to be kind, simply because we are living out of our fears of not having or being enough instead. As you might imagine, this all rose to the surface and simmered there awhile, as I pondered the New Year and any new intentions I may have. I don’t do resolutions, because I refuse to set myself up for failure in that way. I learned a long time ago the best way to gain 5 lbs is to go on a diet, so I don’t do that either. But I did recommit to continue exploring the world outside of my comfort zone, keep taking risks and to go on lots of adventures. I promised myself I will try to love better and more deeply, to be vulnerable and kind and brave, and that on days when I think there are no nice people in the world, to try to be one myself. That seems like enough to start with, especially for someone as easily distracted as I am.
Some of you know I’m sort of chillaxing at home, mending up from a pretty good bump on the head. Like Daniel on the CDT, I learned a long time ago that bumpy roads often lead to beautiful destinations, and this concussion is no different. I am surrounded by good people, including my biz partner, whom I love fiercely, and who love me back patiently, hearts covered in stretch marks from putting up with all my many adventures and forays into the wilderness. They bring me fruit and drive me places, feed the hound and check in on me. They are the kinds of friends with whom mundane concerns and sorrows seem to dissolve in their presence, and make love seem easy.
I am blessed to have several friends with tremendous gifts of healing, and they’ve been helping out quite a bit these days. Our Chiropractor friends Cam & Sam always take good care of us, body and soul, and Sam is our Office Savior sometimes too. My friend Steve over at the Get Well Docs has been helping me out a lot with some awesome cranial sacral work, among other things, and it’s been really helpful. A lot of you know Anne Roulo, who has been doing some really beautiful acupuncture for me as well. Anne has some serious medicine up her sleeve into those little needles, and her Kinesiology skills are equally amazing. Anne knows some old school muscle testing, and sometimes in the soft light of her office, with her fingers flying and lips moving softly as she finds just the right spot, she gives the appearance of an ancient healer magician murmuring incantations of great complexity. Her magic always works, for which I am enormously grateful.
Evidently all of these folks are playing their part, because I am feeling better everyday, and they are part of that to be sure. Ram Das said when all is said and done, we are all just kind of walking each other home, and that’s really true in this time. Most of us have been together a long time, just steadily walking side by side, in business and in life, there when things come up or fall down…broken hearts and broken bones, occasionally a broken windshield or even a broken head or two. We’ve also celebrated and laughed together, daring to be ourselves and wander together on this cosmic journey we all call Life. Sometimes it’s really a wild ride.
I suppose there are other healer types in town, perhaps with the same level of exquisite skill. But what sets all of these people apart is their kindness, the gentle and humble way with which they approach their craft and carry their gifts. They have all been around long enough to know that what most folks are after can’t be purchased and certainly doesn’t come in pill form. Above all, they carry their questions and I-don’t-knows with the same sort of humble reverence with which they carry their knowledge and wisdom, and this makes me trust them all the more. It’s just so intoxicating when people are unapologetically who they are, willing to be compassionate enough to embrace uncertainty and still do the best they can anyway. My gratitude is immense, to be part of their tribe.
All of this to say, 2017 started off with some good adventures already, and I feel the rush that comes when you take the leap and trust the magic of new beginnings. A reminder if you are scared about your own path… So what if you are scared? Why are you so scared, whose fears are they really? You are amazing, you are just trying to remember that. Let go. Stop swallowing your words and speak your Truth. Let go of caring about what other people think, and do what you want. Wear what you want. Say what you want. Listen to the music you want, and play it loud as all hell and dance to it in your kitchen. Stop waiting for the weekend and live now. Do it now. Take a risk. Buy the shoes. Eat the cake. Tell someone you love them. Build them up and remind them that they are worthy, and while you are at it, remind yourself too. Remember that you are magical and share your own brand of healing magic with someone else. Be a light on your own path, and share your light with others.
You are only confined by the walls you build yourself. Tear them down and dance in the rain, because the cost of not following your heart now is spending the rest of your life wishing you had. I learned a long time ago the longest journey is the few inches between the head and the heart, but you can always start now, and I promise you will find your way. No one else can make that journey for you, nor can they save you from it. But there are many of us who will walk with you, side by side, helping you be your own hero.
We’re here if you wanna chat, but whatever you do, remember it’s time to start living your life for you, now. So just start. Start where you are. Start with fear. Start with pain. Start with doubt. Start even if your voice shakes. Just start, and know you are gonna be ok. Bumpy trails always lead to beautiful destinations, and you are worth the ride.
Happy New Year everyone. Thanks to all of you for being part of my path.
We are back in St. Louis, and I wanted to check in on the happenin’s round here. I drove home last week, and am adjusting to the weather here, storms and humidity a visceral reminder I am in the Midwest again.
I ran a few errands yesterday, windows down even with the heat, foot light on the gas, sun beating down through the sun roof, half listening to the sorrowful news coming through the speakers. It wafted through in stark contrast to the landscape here, seemingly impossibly lush and verdant after spending two months in the desert, fertile green holding the promise of new life and abundant harvest.
We spent some time in Chaco Canyon while we were in New Mexico, the picture you see is a view through the doorways of time, in the old Pueblo Bonito kiva. Those doorways are about 1200 years old, still quite intact, and they have remained stable, through life and death and the rebirth that always comes, no matter the details said lives and deaths may hold. Through rain and drought, clouds and sun, Chaco is always there, now bearing abundant harvest in the form of a spiritual energy that remains indescribable, ineffable perhaps, unless you have been there to experience it first hand. The place holds a haunting, almost eerie stillness, a sacred place in the middle of nowhere (now here?) that has withstood the test of time. If you ever have a chance to go, may I suggest it’s worth your time to do so.
We did some writing while we were there, some hiking, some exploring, and some deep listening at many levels. I have returned with my creative well more full than when I left, another form of abundant harvest. We are doing the Mother Wound retreat out there in the fall, and had the time and space to deepen into all that conversation can offer as well. As usual, Becky and I are collaborating on the retreats, which I really enjoy and look forward to doing again. For those of you who haven’t met Becky, she’s super smart, crazy organized, really creative and is able to roll through the changes with me, which I like most of all.
We were talking about how that deep, visceral parent wound often leads to being very intuitive, an empath with deep gifts, but you have to know how to nurture and harvest it in order to make it feel abundant. Left untended, it usually just presents as an underlying, constant need to “fix it,” or “help it,” which usually leads to exhaustion and a constant sense of failure, or not being enough. Really, I guess the best way to heal such things is to just let go of thought forms about not being or having “enough,” whatever that means for you, and to open to your life with a sense of compassion and curiosity. I know that’s easier said than done though, especially if you were taught it’s your job to be responsible for everyone and everything.
A gentle reminder if you are in that place today: You are not responsible for your parents, or any other adults other than yourself. It’s OK to let people learn to work out their own relationships, their own karma, their own path. There’s nothing “spiritual” about putting up with abusive behavior or nonsense, and you can be a good person and still say no. Really, your job is to come into alignment with your own Divine Presence, to know the bounds of what you can and cannot do, instead of being overly responsible and then feeling helpless or hopeless when you can’t fix it and then are blamed by others.
Anyway, I’m not big on the hard sell, but I don’t mind telling the truth, and the truth is we are doing some cool stuff with unwinding those old tender places in people, teaching them to harvest the gifts from the past. We are also doing a lot of writing, the publications on grief and hospice in full swing, which I also enjoy very much. Abundant harvest indeed.
In my garden, the tomatoes the furrylittleratbastard squirrels didn’t get are just about to ripen, I have a ton of blossoms on my cucumber vines, along with green beans and what looks like some watermelon thinking about manifesting out there. I planted a bunch of seeds before I left, watered the hell out of them and then drove away. Probably not the best way to go about it, but I believe strongly Nature always knows what to do, and usually does it better without too much interference from me, so that method always seems to be a good approach where I am concerned.
I love gardening– it’s way cheaper than therapy, plus you get tomatoes, and digging in the dirt then canning the results sort of feeds my Zen. All good stuff, and I am reminded of the many ways in which abundant harvest touches my life on a day-to-day basis, including in the form of all of you, so thanks for that.
As always, I returned to far too many emails to answer or even wade through, so if you tried to reach me and didn’t get me, please try again. And, as always, if you need anything or have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. Hope this finds all of you well and enjoying your own harvest these days. In this time of sorrow and divisiveness in the collective, may each of you remember your own goodness and trust your own love, enough to share it with your neighbor, seen and unseen. Peace to us all, abundant harvest indeed.
I’ve been a lot of places in the past several months, and probably could have posted more, but I was out living life instead of blogging about it. Mostly the trips and days were good, full of promise, with a lot of laughs. Other times I’ve wandered restlessly, my truth sort of unsettled in me, waiting to root, like those times when a seed finally blossoms into a flower but looks a little ragged at first. Sometimes I’m just not sure what to say, so I don’t say anything, not wanting to force something into the gaps in my wisdom just for the sake of filling space.
But I think about you, I promise I do. I thought about posting for the MLK holiday, but then figured if for some reason you were standing in your kitchen thinking, “Well, hell. I sure do wish Terri would write something about Martin Luther King Day!” you would hear me say, “Fear not, gentle reader! You can find a previous post with all my random babbling about that topic here.“
I thought about posting when we got back from Santa Fe in the fall, and around the holidays. I thought about posting when we published our first little hospice booklet with Wings of Change Publications. I thought about posting when we moved (yeah, again) into our bigger office, and I thought about posting about Huckleberry, our new therapy dog. He’s cute, huh? I’m not sure if he’s support staff, or staff support, but he’s at the office with us sometimes and in puppy school sometimes. Over time he’ll be with us more and more, practicing his therapy dog skills.
I thought about posting when so much violence gripped our own city and made headlines all over the planet, and I thought about posting when bombs went off in other places as well. I thought about posting during the floods here, and when Snowmegedden reached the east coast. I thought about posting a lot, but in truth, sometimes I wonder if one more opinion really matters. Especially my opinion, one that is often so rambling and convoluted.
But then in the deepest part of last night, when the dawn was still hours away, I sat and watched the sky, and let my mind wander over the past years with all of you. The convergence of planets was dancing with the full moon, cascading a soft, almost eerie glow through the skylights of my humble little loft, and I thought of all of you, and how much has come to pass, how life is an odd thing. Timeless and eternal, always coming and going, ebbing and flowing, and I just let the memories kind of wash over me. I thought of my old house in the city, and how much we’ve all been through together the past 15 years. I thought of how many of you have crossed my threshold in a variety of offices in our fair city, and how honored and grateful I am to have been your shaman, shrink, herbalist, coach, sounding board and friend.
I thought about how grateful I am that we’ve all sort of walked and trudged the path together, that we all supported each other’s businesses and lives. A lot has happened in these past 15 years. Many of us have lost parents or other loved ones, kids have gone off to school, there have been marriages and divorces, people have gotten sick and well, things have been lost and found. So I thought of all of that, and wanted to say hi, and thanks, and give you an update on the happenin’s round here.
From the glut of emails I have here asking for support, appointments, herbs for tummies, herbs for fevers, herbs for this lingering, hacking cough going around, it appears as though this year began in kind of a rough place for some folks. Not deeply tumultuously rough from external circumstances necessarily, but itchy, uncomfortable, restless. So much is changing so fast, and this time seems flavored with angst and yearning. Mercury retrograde, many say. “Hell, yeah,” says I, “blame it on a distant planet!” Because really, how can you argue with that?
So, if you are looking for support, it’s here for you. We can make an appointment, or you can come to a retreat. We’re booking into July for those at this point, so if that’s on your radar or you have the inclination to do an individual healing intensive in 2016, get in touch with us sooner rather than later. We have all kinds of new, cool stuff at the new office. We are booking into March and April for regular appointments, into July and beyond for retreats. We’re trying to plan a group retreat in New Mexico in the fall. We are doing all kinds of cool trauma work and EMDR. I love partnering with Becky Wallace for all this, and I think she’s getting used to my weirdness. We’re stocking Mother Earth Pillows again, and NOW products, and we have all kinds of cool essential oils and herbs, teas and balms, and other fun and funky healing mojo. We have a juju to heal what ails you, be it body, mind or spirit. I’m sure of it.
But if you just need a pep talk, you don’t really need an appointment for that. I guess what I want to remind you is that no matter what, you are good. I’d add that your current situation is not your final destination, things always change and this will, too. Remember that you will receive the love you think you deserve, that you are a child of the universe and it is your Divine right to be happy and healthy and whole and free.
Your time and life force are way too valuable to spend wasting on people who can’t accept how awesome you are, who are afraid of your Light. Love yourself in spite of their inadequacies, because I promise: their inability to love you is about them, not you. It’s a sad fact in life that everyone isn’t going to love you, even the ones you really wish would or could. Usually they can’t even love themselves, so as painful as it is, it’s not about you that they can’t give the love you really deserve. Let them feel the weight of your greatness, of who you really are, and deal with it. It’s easy to feel unlovable when people can’t care for you or connect with you in the way you need. But their lack of capacity isn’t a reflection of your worth or intrinsic value. Breathe into that, then touch your wounds with forgiveness, especially for yourself.
You don’t have to be a prisoner of your past or your personal history, you can instead be an architect of your future happiness. Seek peace, and give it to yourself. Smile, breathe, and go forward…gently. Grant yourself the gift of unconditional friendliness. Trust your love. See the light in others, and in yourself, and then act as if that’s all there is. Trust your love some more.
It’s hard to do that sometimes. I get it, I really do. But sometimes you have to ask yourself if you want the pain of staying where you are, or the pain of growth. For the record, growth is optional, and not everyone chooses it. Know that sometimes it feels like we are lost in our pain, but that same pain eventually becomes its own medicine, its own cure. During those times, remember too that there are times in life when we live in the questions, and times when we live in the answers. I’ve learned that you really do have to be patient with both. That patience always leads to good things, I promise. Those lonely hours are not spent in vain, they somehow strengthen your wings so that when the light comes again, you will have the courage to fly.
You have this one life. How do you want to spend it? Running after people who can’t see how amazing you are? Trying another diet? Hating yourself? Apologizing or regretting? Forget it. Be brave, like you know you are under all that pain. Believe in yourself. Trust your love. Do what feels right, what feeds your soul. Make yourself proud. Go for it. You can do it. I’m already proud of you, I already believe in you. You were wild and hopeful once. Don’t let them tame that out of you.
Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Forgive them if you feel up to it, but mostly just focus on loving and forgiving yourself. Not just once, but as many times as it takes, as many times as it takes to find your peace again. Then, go forward in that peace and love.
If you want some help with all of that, or want some herbs or some feel-good, get in touch. But mostly, at least for today, just breathe. Breathe and trust your love. I’m proud of you and feel blessed to be part of your path. Thanks for sharing it with me.
First, we are honored to be the guest contributor to the NPR show On Being this week. This was a blog post I wrote here several years ago, about the time we signed my mom into hospice. It was quite a surprise, but quite an honor to hear they were running the post, so a big thanks to On Being, we love your show!
The contribution post is about the stories we tell ourselves, how they shape us, and how they shape our world. Head on over there and check it out, along with their usual podcast and blog. Feel free to comment on their Facebook Page or Wings of Change Pubs Facebook page as well, thanks!
Next, many of you know this, but to our out of town clients and friends– We moved into a bigger office in Webster Groves and we love it. We have lot more room here, along with the usual herbs, aminos and so on, so let us know if you need anything. I’ve combined forces with Becky Wallace and our joint business is called Wings of Change. We are offering a lot of healing services, including retreats and some individual sessions, which I always love. Additionally, we are moving more into writing books and booklets, which is great fun. We have published a small booklet for hospices and are working on some other publications, including a book about how to trust yourself and your own love again.
We are still taking some individual clients, but many people are moving more and more toward the powerful work we are doing together with Wings of Change in the Year of Transformation retreat. Basically, this includes 20 sessions throughout the year and quarterly retreats, but there is much, much more. You can learn more about the basics here, and as always feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
I’ll be gone most of September and October, rambling around the desert and offering retreats, meditating, doing some writing and just chillaxing. I’ll be posting some to tumbler and Facebook when I’m on the grid. Thanks so much, as always we love and appreciate your support!
Hello all 🙂 I saw this beautiful essay and thought it was the perfect time to pass it along. New Year or not, it’s always a beautiful time for a new start, with yourself or others. During our sessions and retreats with people, and especially this time of year, we often talk about crossing a threshold into something new. The archetypal journey of life, often called The Hero’s Journey, involves crossing many thresholds and facing many of our Threshold Guardians. This is a beautiful way to approach those changes, so I wanted to pass it along. This is a direct cut/paste from Parker Palmer, I’ve added nothing but my own gratitude. Have a good day, friends. May your path be straight and beautiful today.
This “New Year” thing is a curious fiction, isn’t it? The planet on which we’ve hitched a ride has been wheeling through space a lot longer than 2,014 years. And the hoopla we make at midnight on December 31st is a tad over the top for one more tick of the clock.
But this annual ritual allows us to imagine that maybe, just maybe, we’re on the threshold of something new and better — and some of our imaginings might come true, depending on what we do. Here’s a small poem that’s large with wise guidance for threshold-crossing:
We look with uncertainty
by Anne Hillman
We look with uncertainty
beyond the old choices for
to a softer, more permeable aliveness
which is every moment
at the brink of death;
for something new is being born in us
if we but let it.
We stand at a new doorway,
awaiting that which comes…
daring to be human creatures,
vulnerable to the beauty of existence.
Learning to love.
I’m going to pass on making New Year’s resolutions this time around. Instead, I’ll take Rilke’s famous advice about “living the questions,” and carry into the New Year a few of the wonderings Hillman’s poem evokes in me:
• How can I let go of my need for fixed answers in favor of aliveness?
• What is my next challenge in daring to be human?
• How can I open myself to the beauty of nature and human nature?
• Who or what do I need to learn to love next? And next? And next?
• What is the new creation that wants to be born in and through me?
We look with uncertainty to the year ahead. But if we wrap our lives around life-giving questions — and live our way into their answers a bit more every day — the better world we want and need is more likely to come into being.
Happy New Year, everyone! May 2015 be a year of light and life for you and yours. And may we help make it so for others with whom we share this ride.
The Quote of the Day…..So true, friends…so true. Have a good day!
It’s easy to feel uncared for when people aren’t able to communicate and connect with you in the way you need. And it’s so hard not to internalize that silence as a reflection on your worth.
But the truth is that the way other people operate is not about you. Most people are so caught up in their own responsibilities, struggles, and anxiety that the thought of asking someone else how they’re doing doesn’t even cross their mind. They aren’t inherently bad or uncaring — they’re just busy and self-focused. And that’s okay. It’s not evidence of some fundamental failing on your part. It doesn’t make you unloveable or invisible. It just means that those people aren’t very good at looking beyond their own world.
But the fact that you are — that despite the darkness you feel, you have the ability to share your love and light with others — is a strength. Your work isn’t to change who you are; it’s to find people who are able to give you the connection you need. Because despite what you feel, you are not too much. You are not too sensitive or too needy. You are thoughtful and empathetic. You are compassionate and kind. And with or without anyone’s acknowledgment or affection, you are enough.