My Body Is My Temple

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And other meditations on body image, body respect, and the summer goodness of some Siggi’s orange and ginger yogurt and fresh warm raspberries, and yeah ok, I admit a little medical marijuana.

I will probably never be a vegan. First and foremost, the truth is, when it comes to food, I am an omnivore. And the big business of veganism is rearing almost as ugly a head as the omnivores. But never quite as obviously messy as the carnivore. You simply can not get away with eating and avoiding harm. So you go for as little harm as possible no matter which path you choose and if you’re lucky there are local food providers actually keeping quality of life for food, be it plant or animal, and, therefore, us.

Two years ago I was emotionally distressed and depressed and angry and scared, and under constant stress from a few directions. I was spiritually stagnating but in the process of trying to rectify that. I was physically exhausted and I thought it was the stress and energy output. So I joined a gym and starting doing a couple weight workouts and rowing 3 miles 3 days a week. It felt good. I wish it was water wet rowing but I closed my eyes and put on my headphones and I rowed on lakes of sparkling diamonds and under willow trees, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets and the red winged blackbird would call me. I lost weight and really started toning my upper body. My body up top was shifting and when that happens, if you’re paying attention, mysteries can be revealed.

Thanksgiving Night 2012 I was in bed doing my breast self exam and I found a very hard, somewhat large, lump. I checked more closely, I felt my entire breast, my heart starting to beat faster. I compared it in every way to my other breast and it was all, One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other. And I knew in that moment that I had breast cancer oh holy God help me get through this. So I jumped the medical hoops and took their poison and asked them to amputate my breasts and burn my very bones with radiation. I also lost 11 lymph nodes, over 14 tumors, part of a lung but praise Goddess not my heart. My heart is good. My finger tips and toe tips are kind of numb and yet kind of tingley and my handwriting has changed a bit and I sometimes drop things. The occasional minor lymphedema. The radiation pony trick killed the mystery lump under my sternum. So I wait now. Just a couple more answers. I’ve found some patience in this process. The damage can be managed. Yeah. Now that I know.

It’s shifted things even further and I want oh so very deeply to be ever so much more mindful of how I treat it. So I now shop the Consumer’s Coop or at least the organic section at the chain store. I try to be mindful of how my food is treated and how the land that supports it is treated. What’s in the stuff I put on my skin.

I’m determined to get myself unaddicted from coke Zero, other sugars, white foods in general, an exception being white fish. I do plan to bring some things in but as treats or rare exception but man. One day at a time. I’m truly addicted to some foods and even some very specific brands/types of food. Like wafer cookies and potato chips.

So this morning, I went to the green pharmacy to exchange some cartridges that were defective. This has happened before with oils that are too thick, they are very nice about exchanging, their business thrives. And they had a new line that DOES NOT HAVE ANY POLYPROPYLENE GLYCOL in it. Holy cow. It’s about time. That stuff, touted as “something the medical field uses as a lubricant with some of their procedures and medications” but I still don’t know WTF it is. This new stuff, they label it differently. They state dosage by % not mgs. And the gal said that because of the purity you needed less. I tend to take these people at their word and they have been so very kind and caring and surprisingly professional and fun and groovy all at the same time. I do love my particular pharmacy of choice. So I got one of these new cartridges of course (plus they did exchange the other ones). Smoke less so more doses, more pure, and costs less although initial outlay is 30% higher than the other stuff. At worst be equal in the final analysis. And not have those scary words that I don’t know what they are words. I can dig it.

I came home and thought “you know Saturdays are usually a three toke day so I’ll just have one instead, see how this shifts things.” And that woman didn’t lie. So I sat up on the bed and ate a bowl of this new yogurt I found with fresh raspberries. And I offered some to the man and he said good but tart and I realized that something had shifted in my body. Because to me? It tastes really mmmmm amazing and while there is faint touch of tart, it is quite sweet to me and extremely thick and yummy. I realize that my palette has somehow begun shifting and I’m tasting simpler things in a different way now.

Thinking about the dance of life, the goodness when I bit down on a little piece of ginger and thought about the interplay of live cultures in Greek yogurt and that lie they call yogurt or even worse Greek yogurt that isn’t and raspberries with their little seeds, all of it changing me from the outside inside out. Sweet, thick, rich, unbelievably healthy because how something that tastes this amazing could be so good for me and not harm anyone blows my mind. And it feels goooooood.

Life is good. It has had its challenges and Dad and Mimi gone just a month and ow and work stuff and yet wonderful partnership, somehow remaining connected to my friends, making new ones, letting go of stuff the best way I can. Be it textile or person or processed “food,” fuck we are living in Repo Man land and we can’t see it yet. Not enough of us.

So meditating the last couple days on the 100th monkey effect. It is really one of my favorite effects and I’m waiting for critical mass and I feel like I’m starting to see signs that were moving that direction.

It’s what I hope for us as those who were given stewardship of this Eden and who have failed miserably at it. But I am hoping that resistance is not futile, we are not The Borg.

So I sit here and eat my yogurt and see how a woman I know, who literally saved my life while providing a year of medical benefits that I earned simply by being me, by being loved by another, by being a valuable employee in a company who values themselves and has ethics. You save one life, you save the world. That gift radiates out into infinity and changes everything and everyone it touches. I’m waiting for the 100th or one millionth monkey effect. For us all to suddenly, unexpectedly, and apparently unconnectedly, start doing it too, washing our fruit so it’s pure when it goes in bodies.

And I smile. Because these are VERY interesting times to me. I’m so super happy except for those moments when I’m really not but they are brief, I look at them, I don’t run and I’m starting to feel well. Challenges are only that and I know what I’m in when I’m in it and so I don’t struggle so hard any more. And yes, the lady In the green pharmacy wasn’t kidding. Half a toke is plenty. I don’t really enjoy the stoned feeling, really, this is bit much this morning, but I’m relaxed and resting because of it and my body needs that. It is a gift. I just need to be watchful. And still get the laundry done.

Better get off the bed for a spurt of energy. It needs to move more too. But I’m doing better and did I say? I’m mostly happy

Decision to be free

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Those of you who have been entertained enough to follow me for some many years now will know that this is not the first incarnation of my blog. I started many years ago in livejournal then in 2005 moved to wordpress, Weaving The Web, because I wanted freedom of expression and to get away from folks I thought were trying to limit me. God/dess knows I do that enough my own self, don’t need any help.  Then in 2008, though staying with wordpress, I created this third incarnation, Love Not Fear.  I brought all the old posts over, even a few from livejournal, so this site is a mostly complete record.

The name Love Not Fear overrides the actual account hidingplainsight.  I’ve been Hiding in Plain Sight for a few years now. I have written a lot about my own personal process.  At times it has been, ahem, CHALLENGING, to stay honest when I am not presented in a flattering light. Like most of us, not all of my personal growth has been pretty. Some felt hurt by it. I’ve had a lot of growing pains in the last 5 years, more intense and deeper than usual.

One of the things that has also been difficult is that I have indeed been hiding in plain sight. My ex, The Forgiven, and my brother were very upset with me over some things I posted. Some of my friends in the SCA would write, oooh don’t say that because imortant  people are watching and you might not get a Laurel (Big damn award, uh huh). I said no to the SCA, no to the Laurel (not that it was offered but I stopped yearning for it), and no to the friends. I refused to be censored and that is how my current incarnation here began.  Hiding to be free.

All of this might lead you to think I’m going away.  But I’m not!!!  I have, however, decided to start anew.  I want to be able to share my work and my thoughts and my writings with people who are close to me and have been for years.  I have not wanted to share all of my process with them.  I have been considering for some time that I have a book in me and I think of it often.  One day maybe I’ll do it. For now though, I want to be able to continue writing and teaching and creating and I want to be visible.

When I was going to the channeler of Jeshua with the ex, it was quite validating.  One thing Jeshua said to me was that I had spent many lifetimes feeling invisible and that this was the lifetime where I overcome that.  I want to be seen and it hardly supports that when I am hiding my self away afraid that those who know me shouldn’t read my thoughts.  I’m still not sure I want them to read the archives.  I’m not ready for that but I am ready to have them see me now, as I am now.

As you know, I have reconnected with old friends through facebook and for me it has been very uplifting.  I don’t friend just anyone, only those I know and with rare exception those I would like to know.  But many of them I will never send here.  I don’t publish this url anywhere.  I want to share now.  My latest status update said this:

As I get to re-know my friends from days long past, I realize how inherent my feelings of separation are. How I never knew anyone loved me. I see now that I was wrong, I was loved for sure, but it kind of blows my mind how different my life would have been if I had believed from the start that I was lovable…

We pick up from where we stand…

I’ve been uncovering myself this past year. I have purple hair now!  It suits me. I’m drawn back to some of my roots.  That free spirited girl I used to be, the one who thumbed her nose at conformity and the status quo wants to fly again.  The self-destruction isn’t welcome but there was much that was good about me and the way I lived my life and refused to conform for the comfort of others. It calls to me.  But in a healthy, embracing, loving, and creative way. Something that builds… If you build it they will come.

Reveal #1…

I have this fear of heart attack.  Two of my women friends have had massive heart attacks in the past 3 years. Serious widow makers.  They both survived, one of them quite amazingly since the hospital was a long drive and a ferry ride and another long drive away.  They are both disabled for the rest of their lives.  With that in mind,  2012 I want to nurture my spirit more than my body, work the muscles and see if they remember my hurdling track and field days. My God, I do not have a double chin, it just happens when I reach back to look up at the guy and laugh, but boy I do have some extra pounds.  Introducing MR. FURNACE! Who loves me just as I am as I do him.

American Goth(ic)

Not pitchforks! Cake.  The cake has got to go…

Reveal #2

With that in mind, I’ve created a new blog.  A place where I will share some thoughts, some tutorials, and lots of creativity!  I won’t post as often as I have before but more than lately.  I think that what I do post will be worth the waiting for.  I thought that since I own stitchwitchcottage.com I might as well continue in that vein. Maybe I’ll even update that site.  I have a few tutorials in the thought bubble. While the blog won’t be entirely witchy there will be some of that too.  Right now my spiritual path is in flux,weaving and bending and flowing and I’m not worrying too much about what to call it or me. But I do have projects galore to share.  And joy! I have joy to share!

So.  Watch for a new post in a couple weeks (I have a LOT to do to get ready!! like new masthead and site design and a couple posts in the queue)…  Stitch Witch Cottage is coming soon to a puter near you!

2012 Will Be Totally Different – I Can Feel It

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While the world continues to turn there will be problems, challenges, things we don’t like, some we can change and some we are powerless to stop.  Think Globally, act Locally.

2011 was the final year of the Great Purge.  I can tell.  At least in my life.  I have weathered the storm of personal dark change and upheaval.  Will there be other storms?  Of course!  I do not tempt fate so will say no more but so much has changed inside that I am not who I was.  And that is a good thing. I was fine before but now I’m extra fine.

I have some plans and ideas for 2012.

I was asked to put together a collection of wooden boxes and paintings for a gallery in Pioneer Square.  This is Seattle’s oldest part of town where an array of bars and eateries and also many many galleries live.  Do I have a guarantee? No.  But I have this little thought in my head.  If I build it they will come.

Two of my pouches were stolen from my art showing last month.  The entire building had lost power the same day that a Seahawks game was playing. Which left the entire building without security on the stairs.  A small laptop (our crapiest so there assholes) and two pouches were missing the next day.  These were my personal pouches from my two favorite decks: my wool “Mary Engelbreit” pentagram bag and my silk and beaded snake bag.  I figure some hoodlums got in and took 3 small things that they could trade for drugs or the like.

I wasn’t mad!  (wow!! Hothead me!! Not mad!!! Everyone else at work was mad for me anyway…)  I was sad.  I was disappointed.  I was grateful they didn’t take my Rigid Container.  I hung it with velvet ribbons that were looped through the box then secured with silver buttons with enameled thistles.  This hung from a wooden dowel with acorn caps.  It was lovely.  But big and bulky thank god.

So. I have work to do to replace the containers for my tarot decks and to start a collection.  I got 3 commissions from that show, plus the hope of maybe showing to the greater public on a Gallery Walk this summer.

I still have to finish The Wheel of the Year wall hanging (down to the assembly stage), the Roumanian shirt, another wall hanging (close), and a Samhain quilt I have been gathering materials for.

Looking forward to 2012 with Mr. Furnace.  He has tied up his loose ends and man, things have shifted significantly. I’m dying to hear how it all turns out!

Happy New Year to you!  Remember, the Mayans just got tired of projecting so far into the future and the stone carver quit or they sacrificed him. I can’t remember which…

Deer Heart

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I received a Yuletide note from a deer friend today.  I was so glad to hear how her life has changed in small but fabulous ways.  Her exuberance and joy and love were shining.  She keeps up with me in this here blog most of the time so hey girl!  Love you!

I received a lovely box of goodies the other day from another witchie friend, one I really must meet in person some day.  I imagine we could find much to talk about into the wee hours.  Her generosity and kindness means so very much…  And smells damn fine as well.

I was reflecting back on the past Yules in most recent history. Talking with Mr. Furnace the other day, (we are better than ever we were and the fires are stoking) and realized that while I didn’t think I had “bad” yule memories that is no longer really true.

The first one, one that I repressed for many years, was the birth and subsequent adoption of my son.  His birthday is today.  December 22nd, 1981. He is 30 years old today.  My Winter Son. May your life be filled with love and light and abundance of all good things, I hope you are happy. This is a bittersweet memory. I did the right thing but sometimes I think of him and miss him and remember what little of him I had in my life and today is one of those days.

Both Solstices with The Forgiven were just brutal.  He had a nervous breakdown the first one and disappeared for 3 days.  I drove him to the airport on Christmas Eve not knowing if I would ever see him again.  The next months were stressful to say the least. The next Yule with him, he gave me 4 used children’s books, one had crusty boogers on it and then he told me he didn’t want to see me for 2 weeks while he found his own power.  After promising to support me while my brother was here for his first trip back to the states since his tumultuous departure.  The father in law came with him and died on that trip.  The Forgiven chose his timing on the day Jean went into the hospital.  We broke up.

Then the Yule when I had no work of any kind and had just lost my lovely little home in the “woods” and was living on the charity of a friend in her basement rooms.  It was a blessing but I was pretty depressed.

The next Yule I was here with my folks and it was mixed.  In some ways it was comforting to be where I had happy memories from childhood and my father’s birthday, Christmas Eve, to celebrate but still unemployed and living in financial fear at the least.

Last Yule Mr. Furnace was still struggling with letting go of the cracked out ex-wife.  That was fucked up. I was invited at the last minute to his parents for Christmas dinner, someone called in sick and I took their place. It was good enough for me, I was allowed entrance. I was still not working but had some prospects, better than I’d had in two years.  One I wanted, the other I did not.  Still much insecurity in many areas. My heart was a MESS and if I had known that this past year was coming, well, it’s good we don’t always get what we ask for and that this witch can’t see much of the future.

So here it is, this year. 2011.  And my life is 180 degrees in the other direction. Yay!

While Mr. Furnace and I have had a lot of really challenging things to go through and I would have outright refused some of it if I had known the lose ends he had to find closure on…  But those things changed me.  I found some healing from 40 decades of love damage.  Massive change for me, took my OWN inventory, and things shifted, earthquakes, heart quakes, doing things differently, and for once NOT listening to the advice of well meaning friends. For those who supported my choice in the least walked path, thank you.  I’m still having little epiphanies of the healing I gained from things that looked on the outside to be new injuries but were miracles in disguise.  I have never ever been in a relationship like this in my life and neither has he.  We are really forging something beautiful here and I’m so fucking grateful sometimes I cry.  It has not escaped my notice that I’ve been dealing with men issues this year with my father and this man, an actual grown up flawed but changing MAN. The second degree that was offered has taken effect and influenced and changed me much without the official ceremony.  Mr. Stag has strengthened my deer heart…

I have the job I didn’t want which has turned into the best job I’ve ever had in my life. They love me.  ME. Exactly the way I am.  They call me a rockstar. Which I needed after being fired twice in one year and being told I was incompetent, which I had started to believe.  I am the one who pulls the extra weight, if they need extra launches, they come to me. I pull miracles out of thin air.  I rock. I love my work and I tell the clients I work with that truth.  Which makes them very happy to work with me.  I don’t have an office but a very small workstation that doesn’t even rank as a cubicle, I don’t make huge bucks, but I am at work every day. I am reliable.  I have purple hair now. Very dark Purple hair. I’ll get you a photo the next time I have it done and it is at its highest intensity. I wear what I want and can be my pagan punk rock n roll irreverent unguessable self and they love me.  My boss and I care about each other.  I have real friends at work.

My father is in an adult family home.  It’s taken some time for him to adjust to not being home. Some days are better than others for him.  But my mom is doing better than she has in years.  She no longer has an 80 year old child to manage and she’s blossoming.  We went to  Christmas dinner the home gave for the families. We all got our photos taken in family groups in front of the tree.  Mr. Furnace is in the photos and that is a first in my life. Yes. The first Yule photo of me and a partner. With or without my family.  The first photo ever. (NO!!! I’m wrong. The SECOND photo ever.  The first was last year with Mr. Furnace.  Truly amazinger with there being two yule photos and they have the same people in them) There were carolers at the feast and I started to cry because it hit me that this is the last Christmas I will share with my dad knowing who I am.  Bittersweet.

I am happy in all areas of my life today. That has never ever been true for me in this lifetime. I have faith in my love, in my work, in my abilities. I’m surrounded by people who love me and who I love back.  I’m sober. I have my relationship with spirit and deity. The house is beautiful this year, mom and I really decorated, and we all got into the spirit of giving and sharing and warming up the dark.  Lots of baking, lots of making. I’ve been invited to Mr. Furnace’s parent’s home for Christmas dinner this year.  At Thanksgiving I was his plus one.  For Christmas I was invited in my own right, by name.  We’re taking cookies we made together. They made sure that I could eat the bœuf bourguignon because they noticed I don’t drink.

The afghan is finished! Yay!  It’s purty….

Stags stags everywhere…

The house smells like Pine Forest incense from my friend Sarah, the lights are twinkling through the window, and life is good.  Very, very good.

Joyous Solstice to you! Have a Yule that’s cool. Merry Christmas.  Happy birthday to the son of the sun. May the blessings and wonder and all good things be yours in the coming year.

Looking towards the light

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As I pack away the Samhain decorations and let the house breathe before the Yule decor comes out, I take it easy.  I’ve been working so very hard of late.  Work has its rewards but it has its challenges and this month is one of those times.  Nothing bad just going through another learning curve and there are deadlines.

I had a lovely Samhain circle, my first in over a year. It felt so good.  Nothing big, just a very simple circle and some divination. Back in a good place, finding my way.

I’m very happy these days.  I think this summer’s tensions with Mr. Furnace were very good for the long term.  Hell in the short term for sure but many things, things that have haunted my spirit for years, have been released and I feel free in ways I never thought I would.  Our love seems to be blossoming suddenly.

Life is good if busy. Some interesting events are coming from a display of my artwork at work.  They have two gallery walls and this month my work is being presented.  It might run through the year end.  The CEO has commissioned a painting and one of our marketing people not only wants a box but she wants to pay an very high price for it.  I’m astonished.  She also has a friend who owns a gallery here in our Pioneer Square area.  We shall see.   I count on nothing but it did my heart good. All I know is that it has me thinking about a new direction for 2012.  I’ve failed a bit miserably at finishing my projects in 2011 but the biggest project of all, the healing of my heart, has been at the forefront and other things took a back seat.

All in its own time…