Sunday, October 15, 2017

Divine Earthly Experience 13: Owning Who You Are

Dear fellow Earthlings,

Many are going through a crisis of identity right now. If you aren't currently experiencing that, you will. The earth is vibrating at a much higher frequency. This has been proven by scientists. I am reading a book called The Book of Ho'oponopono: The Hawaiian Practice of Forgiveness and Healing. In this book it says:

"The electromagnetic field of the earth is expanding. This has been observed on the level of the Schumann resonance. This increase in size is the result of a more general increase that is affecting, at the least, our entire galaxy. The cause is the arrival of new cosmic energies that give human beings heightened awareness, new visions, new abilities and new thought....This period of adaptation is expressed by fatigue, irritability, anxiety and depression."

Not sure when I began writing the above. I think it was August and now it's October, but this all still rings true for me. I look around me and all appears to be as it always was. The leaves on the trees are changing color, neighbors have pumpkins on their porches, a new school year is well on it's way, yet I can't help but feel it's not the same. It can never be the same. Sure, we have memories, but everything is shifting and it's shifting much faster than usual.

I have always been tuned into energies and the energies around me, but I haven't always owned this. I am owning it now. It's the shift I am going through. It's hard because I have to cast off a lot of fear as I let go of who I thought I was. Much of who I thought I was had to do with how I grew up. I followed what others did and believed in order to fit in and it served me then. Now, it is no longer serving me. I feel I'm wearing clothes that no longer fit. I keep trying to stretch into them, but they are tight or torn or old or yesterday's fashion. I push and pull my way into these clothes and they suffocate and stifle who I am.

So I will stand naked here. Cut these clothes from my body and stand naked. And who am I without these clothes?

I am a healer
I am a psychic
I am an an internationally published author
I am a teacher
I am a yoga teacher
I am a channeler and am able to connect with those who have recently passed
I am a retreat leader
I am an entrepreneur and business owner
I am inspirational
I am a world traveler
I am a mystic
I am a shaman
I am a blogger
I am a free spirit
I am a scorpio
I am a lover
I am beautiful

By being who I am, I help others tap into who they are. It's hard to own these things in me because I fear those close to me won't accept these things or even believe them, but I know they are true for me and that's most important. Right now my life is in chaos and instead of feeling like a victim, I'm choosing to see it all as an opportunity to cast off that which no longer fits. Sometimes things fall apart or we lose things because we have outgrown them. It's not because we are bad, it's because we are growing more into WHO WE ARE. But it's so hard to let go, isn't it? So many memories and years are attached to who we once were. I lost my husband is 2015 and I am losing my house in June of 2018. My parents have decided to sell the house I've lived in for almost 12 years, so I'm not sure where I will go or what I will do. I still have my job at the college, but even that is changing and sometimes I feel like I've outgrown that too.

I have a lot of fears around embracing and owning who I am. I have a fear that I will end up homeless and alone. However, I am currently in a relationship with a lovely man and I have a home. If I look at the now, things are really good. I see the beauty in each moment, yet the moment is always changing.

When I was younger, I embraced change with open arms. Now that I am getting older, I am a little more fearful of it. This month I will be 48! I can't believe it. But still, I'm not ready to settle into my life. I will always be a free spirit. This does not mean that I'm ungrounded, it just means that I find groundedness in change. Scorpio is the ruler of transformation. It is also the sign of sex and death. Death is the biggest transformation any of us will go through, yet things are dying every minute.

The trees are shedding their brightly colored leaves. It's time for them to drop. There's no holding this back. Change is inevitable. And how beautiful it is to see this fire of red, yellow and orange on the branches against the blue sky. But these leaves will soon be recycled to the soil and come back transformed.

I feel like a brightly colored leaf right now. I'm holding tightly to the branch. I don't want to fall or fail, but at some point I will have to let go. I know this letting go will be the transformation of me. I know that I will finally have to own who I am.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Divine Earthly Experience 12: Living in the Flow of Life

Aloha Mai No Aloha Aku O Kaa Huhu Kaa Mea E Ola Ole Ai 
When Love Is Given, Love Naturally Flows Back In Return.—Hawaiian Proverb

Good evening fellow Earthlings,

We are almost to the end of this month and this is my only blog post. So much is going on, it's hard to pin down a moment to reflect on all that has happened. Lately, I've been living in the flow of life. I've let go ALOT. I don't have any answers, really. I can only relate my experiences here. I feel that by sharing our experiences together, when we are really connected in the now, we open up the door to our higher selves. It comes through community with like-minded people. It also comes with letting go, humility and opening to LOVE. Right now, it may feel that there is no love in the world. There are wars and political problems and stress and traffic and, well, life. It's so easy to get caught up in it all. It's so easy to lose our connection to ourselves, that deep connection we feel when we are at peace. Maybe you feel peace when you walk on the beach, get out in nature, clean your home or cook a meal for your family. I'm feeling this right now. I feel a deep sense of gratitude. I'm sitting on my bed and the leaves outside my bedroom are dancing in the wind. They move together in unison, each leaf unique, yet connected to one tree. The sound is whooooosh as these leaves move in the breeze. The night before last, 40 people gathered in my backyard for my boyfriend's 60th birthday. We had a luau, but it was more than that. So much love flowed into my house and yard that day. It all came effortlessly. It came through letting go. And there were many events that led to that moment where I felt completely surrounded by love. It all started the weekend before.

 Last weekend, my boyfriend and I went to a Hawaiian Shaman retreat led by Hank Wesselman. We were on the waiting list and it was a long shot to get in. We both got calls at different times letting us know that we could participate. I call this synchronicity or flow. It's starts with an intention or idea and then you let go of it and leave it up to the Universe or Source or God or your Higher Self to work out the details. You let go. Completely LET GO. In the retreat, we learned how to journey. All of us experienced journeying or traveling in dream time. We used drumming to lead us into a dream-like state. Many of us experienced clairaudience, where we heard the chanting of Native Americans and even the chanting of Buddhist monks. It was as if the drumming was opening the door to every single being who had been part of web in the evolution of life.  On my last journey, we were meant to meet our spirit guides, which Hank let us know is often our higher selves. I had journeyed, by way of of following a barn owl, to a clearing in the forest. The moon shone above and was so bright. I sat down on the soft earth, trees surrounding me. Suddenly a Hawaiian woman dressed all in white with glowing eyes walked out from amongst the trees carrying flowered leis. She placed a lei around my neck and sat quietly across from me. She had a strong body, but was full of light and love. She said, "Aloha," but it meant so much more than a greeting. She didn't need to say any other words. Without telling her my ailment and what I needed healed, she knew. She breathed into my heart and then, with two hands, began to pull a long, long, long umbilical cord out from my stomach. It was thick like a rope. The eagle screeched as she did this. Once she had removed it, the forest floor in front of us opened into a dark pond and she threw this cord into the pond and I watched it dissolve. I felt light, like a huge weight had been lifted and I was free. She then spoke. She told me to follow my path to Hawaii. I was meant to return to the land and do what I am doing now. And then I returned from the journey.

The rest of my time at Breitenbush was peaceful and restful. I returned to my house and job and got swept up in life again. On Monday night, after my retreat, a girlfriend told me about a workshop in Seattle about Mana Line offered by a Hawaiian woman named Henrylyn Kaui Auwae. I went and invited 5 of my friends. It dawned on me, there in that workshop, that she was the Hawaiian woman who came to me in my Shaman journey. It was very clear. It was her.

I got brave and wrote her an email. She said she felt honored to be on my journey. It was important. I asked her if she could come to my boyfriend's party and teach us about hula. Oh, wow, what a night! The entire backyard was vibrating with LOVE. It was so beautiful. I later found out that Henrylyn Kaui's grandfather, Pappa Henry, was a Kahuna on the Big Island and he is one of the most honored healers of Hawaii. I know we will meet again soon.

The flow is powerful. Like Pele's Lava, when it comes, the best idea is to surrender to it. It won't come in the way you expect. Put your good intentions out there. Let go of trying to control the flow, you can't fight against the current, it will beat you down. If you try to fight it, you will come out battered or torn or even completely beaten by life. Know that you are in a flow with many people, all part of the fabric of life. Trust that when you surrender to the flow of life, your highest self will emerge. That highest version of you is so important. It's what connects us all. I believe the earth is ailing because we've forgotten about tuning in and connecting. We have forgotten about nature, which is the source of all things. We have put our own comforts above Mother Earth, our community and even our loved ones. There's nothing you need to do except tune into your higher self. Do it regularly with good intentions. You will be so surprised at what unfolds.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Divine Earthly Experience 11: Going Inward

"Go into the core of your being, all your answers lie there."—Katherine Jenkins

Hello fellow Earthlings,

How are you? I'm currently in hibernation. I'm in a gathering state. I thought I'd come back to Facebook and start engaging more on June 8th, but here we are a June 15th! It's been a month and a half since I pulled the plug on Facebook and I see that I'm still not quite ready to "come out."

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I feel like a lump of clay yet to be molded. I could become anything at this point, but I feel like staying here in this unformed state a little longer. There is so much potential in the unformed state. Not having to be somebody has both its challenges and rewards.

The challenges are feelings of disconnection, loss, fear. The questions Who am I? and What is my purpose? have come up a lot. I've asked for divine intervention. I've asked for signs and symbols. I've waited. In some instances, I've grown impatient and even fearful. What if I am nobody in this world? That question is kind of scary, isn't it? Other challenges are not feeling like engaging much, keeping to myself, feeling depressed due to lack of clear direction, etc.

But floating on a vast ocean without signposts or a map has advantages too. In the unknown there is so much possibility. It's easy, in the day to day world, to make definitions of ourselves. We cling to self definitions like life preservers; without them, we feel we'd drown. Words like mom, teacher, construction worker, activist, poet, business owner, spiritual teacher give us a sense that we are somebody in this world and we are doing okay because we have that to rely on. We are part of this community or that community and within those communities is a pecking order and if we aren't in our place or we don't have a title or a role, we are lost. Just like in families, we are the middle child, the eldest, the youngest or the only child. We base our identities on how we grew up and it's true, at least in early life, we were molded by our families, particularly our parents. But clinging to what happened to us in the past is clinging to "a story" and there are many stories you can tell. What happens when you pick up that molded clay and pound it out and form something else or let it lie in a clump for awhile? What happens if you lose your map?

Here are the advantages to doing that: You get to decide who you become, by having no identity you are now open to having a new one, you get to form the rules, direction, pace. While you are sitting here as the unformed lump of clay that you are, instead of filling yourself up from the outside, you get to fill yourself up from the INSIDE and that's where all inspiration comes from. In fact, inspiration means being "in spirit" or going inward. All co-dependency with others is lost in this state of being. You aren't looking to others for your happiness. You are not relying on your place in society to make you happy.  Your sadness is yours and your happiness is yours too. It doesn't depend on other people or outside circumstances. It depends on YOU.

I've been in a Clairvoyant Awareness Program for 10 months at a place called Psychic Awakenings in Seattle. I have to say, it's really hard to hide yourself from psychics! Ha! It's very easy to pretend all is well and you are happy with your place in life, but people tuned in spiritually and psychically can see right through that veil. I have received so much healing from the training and work I've done there. But the biggest revelation I've had is that we are all in this together. None of us are immune to sadness, pain or suffering just as none of us immune to happiness and joy. Once we know how connected we are, it's such a relief. We can be open and share knowing that we all go through the same things at one point or another in life, just at different times. We can feel happy for people whose lives are going great and we can have compassion for people going through a hard time because we've all been there! 

The other big things I've learned at Psychic Awakenings are to ground and own my space. Those are HUGE! And we practice them again and again and again. After years of meditation, I wasn't aware of how important it is to ground or be grounded in life. I was always seeking the next spiritual experience and I won't lie and say that it wasn't fun to ride that wave for a very long time. So much became manifest in my life. Things I could never have imagined. But as high as you go, that far you fall. It's risky business and having a grounding cord connected to the center of the earth is always a good idea.

And it's no secret that I fell hard. My life came crashing down with the end of my marriage. And now, as I sit here in the valley of my life picking up the broken pieces of it, I see an image of myself throwing these pieces into a big pot. It's my own pot or container. I OWN my space. I get to decide how much water to add or not add. I get to decide what I put in that pot and what comes out of it and WHEN it comes out.

I'm not ready to come out yet, but soon. My teacher at Psychic Awakenings taught us to "bring in a golden sun" and fill ourselves up with our own energy. I always felt this was so grounding and validating. Whatever energy that was not mine could not stay in the space when I did this technique. But we were always "bringing in" the golden sun, which works for me, but it implies that it came from somewhere outside myself. Last Tuesday, she said, "Sit in the center of your own golden sun!" Wow! That resonated with me. We ALL have this light inside of us. We get to go inward and sit in the center of our OWN SUN or our own light. For some reason, right now, the song lyrics "this little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine..." are coming out. Each one of us gets to shine our light and the package it comes in, the lump of clay we get to work with, may be different, but all of us have this light inside.

Last night, before I went to bed, I asked for guidance. All of us have different beliefs. Maybe you believe in God or Jesus or you are a Buddhist or you talk to angels. Maybe you frequently tune into Source or maybe you are an Atheist. I'm not here to judge how you make your decisions about your life or where you get your inspiration from. I believe that I'm in a human body which has its own limitations, yet I'm connected to something much greater than I can comprehend in this body. I frequently tune into that energy and I get my direction and inspiration from that place. When I tune in and connect to Source and give psychic readings to people, it's uncanny how pertinent and timely that information is to the person I'm reading even though it may not make sense to me personally as I'm reading. In the end, it's a healing for me and for them. We connected and shared on a much deeper level. I feel that's what I'm here to do. I'm here to connect and share on this level.

So what came from the guidance I asked for, you ask? I got the message, "Go into the core of your being, all your answers lie there." So that's where I am navigating from and will continue to navigate from: the inside out. Going inward is pertinent to hearing divine messages. Most messages, I believe, come from a higher version or vibration of ourselves. If we move around in life distracted and influenced by all that's going on OUTSIDE of us, we never get a clear channel to hear what is going on inside. When life comes crashing down, we can hurry to get our footing again, or we can sit in the center of our own golden sun and see what lies there.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Divine Earthly Experience 10: Gratitude for Being Okay

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend."—Melody Beattie 

Hello Fellow Earthlings,

How are you? Well, you must be okay. After all, you are here reading this blog post. I assume you have food, shelter, friends and family. You have a computer or an iPhone on which you are able to read this post. Being okay is certainly something to be grateful for. I sure am. Here's what I wrote on that subject over the past weekend:

As I sit here at the end of Memorial Day Weekend at my family’s lake house in Washington State, I realize I’m okay. Not just okay, really good. If you would have asked me if I’d be okay a year and nine months ago, I would have told you, “Absolutely not!” 

At around eight in the morning, my boyfriend got up, made me a smoothie, kissed my cheek and left. I was still lying lazily in bed, reflecting on the dinners, talks, walks and boat rides my boyfriend Scott, I and another couple all shared. Now, the silence was stifling. The house, once filled with laughter and cooking and snacking and drinks and trips up and down the stairs to fetch bathing suits and suntan lotion, was dead silent save for the hum of the refrigerator and a few bird calls in the distance. I lay there on the bed unable to move. What would I do with my time? The space between community and solitude is always the scariest for me. I have difficulty with that transition. It reminds me of when my husband suddenly left my home for good after sharing a bed with me for the almost 13 years of our marriage. Would I ever see my boyfriend and friends again? Of course I knew I would, but for a few moments I wasn’t sure. After all, who would have thought I’d never sleep with my husband again? Days before he left, we were laughing and humming and picking blackberries that we’d later mix up into delicious muffins. Nothing in life is certain, even the things you think surely are.

Within 10 minutes, I was up, pulling my shorts and t-shirt on and lacing up my Tevas readying myself for a 2-mile walk around the lake. The sun won against the clouds and soon I found myself pulling off my cardigan. I watched yellow finches and swallows swoop between pine branches and two bald eagles rode the thermals high above my head. On my left, where the trees had been clear-cut, I saw volunteer daisies in full bloom. It reminded me of how my own life had been clear-cut. After my husband walked out of my life, the familiar scenery of our lives together had become a wasteland. A bulldozer might as well have just plowed right over our lives while we were having dinner, taking everything with it, because that’s how it felt at the time.

But now, I can say, I’m okay. In fact, I feel so much gratitude. How lucky I am, actually, to have witnessed such tremendous sorrow. I’m not sure I could have felt this at peace and content had I not walked through a very dark valley of pain. When things were going my way and the wind was at my back, I thought life would always be that way. I even took it for granted, not realizing how much I had. But now, walking over the clear-cut of my own life, I stopped to stare at fresh shoots and new blooms, sure signs of new beginnings. I felt happy and content to have this moment to myself to feel this gratitude. 

I still don’t know where I’m going. I’m not so sure of the future anymore. I don’t have a grand plan and perhaps I’m still floating on a vast ocean with no markers. I feel like a huge clump of clay yet to be molded. But I’m okay. I’m good even.

I have this moment. Here in the silence of the dining room, looking out on the early evening light reflecting like shimmering crystals across the lake, while pine tree branches wave like outstretched arms waiting for a hug, I’m happy. Yes, I’m happy. I rest my hand on my cheek, the one my boyfriend kissed this morning. I never thought I’d have a boyfriend again. I thought I’d be married until “death do us part”. You just don’t think about those things. Especially when everything appears to be going along swimmingly. I’m grateful for this man who showed up in my life about six months after my husband left. He’s been loving and kind and gentle and patient. He’s showered me with all the love I had so missed in my marriage. I had somehow convinced myself that all marriages experience a time when affection wanes or even stops all together. That was just how it was. I didn’t know that what I was experiencing in my own marriage was simply not okay. I didn’t know how good it could be. I haven’t witnessed a love like I have now. Maybe it’s not my lover who has allowed me to feel this way, maybe it’s me.

Perhaps I’m ready. Ready to stand up for what I want and need. Ready to be completely loved without holding back. Ready to be full of each moment. Ready to step away from the din of others telling me how it should be and to be grateful for what is.

What is okay in your life? What simple things are you grateful for?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Divine Earthly Experience 9: The Connection of Facebook to Depression and Isolation

"There is also the question of why many users spend so much time online. People who are already mildly depressed or feeling socially isolated may log onto Facebook as a way of connecting with others or to relieve their own sense of sadness. Unfortunately, being subjected to repeated evidence that other people have more interesting lives often has the opposite effect."—Romeo Vitelli, Psychology Today 

Hello Fellow Earthlings,

How are you? It's been a little over a week since I unplugged from Facebook. It's strange. There is even a name for this. It's called "virtual suicide." However, I don't think I fit into that category because I'm here virtually on this blog. I don't miss Facebook or social media, strangely. It occupied a fair share of my time and I see now that I'm glad to have the space to do other things. I had to actually "deactivate" my account because I knew that if I stayed on it, I'd check it somehow.

What is the reason to remain on Facebook or other social media? I guess it's a way of connecting and not feeling isolated. It's a way of saying, "Hey, my life is good!" or "I'm not okay." We can also check in on others to see what they are doing.

A friend at work said she is also thinking about leaving Facebook. She read a study that Facebook can cause depression because people read about how wonderful everyone's lives are and they start to compare and realize that they don't have such an amazing life. It can make you feel like something is missing or something is wrong with you.

I, too, was in the habit of posting photos, etc. of awesome experiences I was having. Not surprisingly, the mood I chose to display most of all on Facebook was "awesomeness." To be honest, even in the dark periods of my life, I often found the silver lining and something positive to share. I am a firm believer in the fact that what you focus on in life is what will show up for you. I choose to focus on the positive. But I'm not immune to sharing difficult experiences with others and I did so both here and on Facebook and luckily many people reached out and could relate.

I had dinner with a new friend last night in REAL TIME. She's only known me since things have looked up in my life, since after my partner of 20 years left. She doesn't know how heart-wrenching that was for me. She was not there. From her perspective, I post too many positive photos of my recent experiences on Facebook. She had no idea that I am no longer there. I know the reason why she said it. I know it's because she is currently having a really hard time.

But I don't think the answer is to be angry at people for posting cool photos, positive quotes, cute baby or cat pictures, inspiring ideas or even for people tooting their own horns for doing something awesome (i.e. getting married,  having a baby, getting a promotion, starting a business, getting a book deal or record deal). This is LIFE and people tend to want to focus on the positive. I love reading about all the inspiring things my friends are doing.

It sure beats the negative and we have plenty of that in our world and our lives, don't we? During the last election, I steered clear of social media. It just bummed me out. People were so ferocious on Facebook. The viciousness and disregard for fellow human beings was evident. I just didn't want to participate. Not because I don't care, but because I don't want to be part of energy that is vicious or mean.

I think it's okay to express darker emotions as long as we are not hurting anyone. Maybe people don't feel safe to express those emotions publicly. They feel they might be judged or gossiped about. Isn't it funny how humans operate? When we hear good news about someone, we are not always so happy for them and when we hear bad news, some of us secretly feel good because our lives aren't THAT bad. What is wrong with this picture? If we are all connected on an energetic level, my good news is your good news and the bad things I experience are also connected to you.

This is what compassion is about.

If Facebook or social media is not the place to express darker emotions, I think it's important to have a safe place to express those. We should never be afraid of how we feel because every single one of us experiences sadness, pain, defeat, loss and grief at one point or another. Just as all of us experience happiness, joy, satisfaction and love at one point or another. We are not perpetually in a state of AWESOME-NESS. Our states of mind really depend on many things and are as changeable as the weather. We could have blue skies in one area and dark clouds of doom in another and even a rainbow in the middle. There is NOTHING WRONG with the dark clouds or dark emotions, but it would seem that sometimes on Facebook or social media, dark emotions just don't exist for most people. I'm not saying these emotions are not expressed, I'm just saying they aren't as common as the rainbow and blue skies variety of updates and posts. And then it begs the question, is Facebook for real? We are not seeing the full picture. We've certainly gained a wider audience, but at the cost of real, heart to heart interactions. 

So now that I've unplugged from Facebook, I am feeling a tad bit of isolation, if I could be really honest here. I would love it if you are reading this right here and now to let me know you are there. Why? Because for this moment, we are connecting. For this short period of time in your life, you are here reading my blog and I'd love to know that.

Do you ever feel depressed, overwhelmed, sad or angry about the things you read on Facebook or other social media?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Divine Earthly Experience 8: What it means to feel REAL

"Sometimes you have to disconnect to stay connected. Remember the old days when you had eye contact during a conversation? When everyone wasn't looking down at a device in their hands? We've become so focused on that tiny screen that we forget the big picture, the people right in front of us."—Regina Brett 

Hello fellow Earthlings,

I'm unplugging today from Facebook. I think I have a mild addiction and I want to unplug for about one month. I will post here about my experiences NOT ON IT...(it can be like a drug, right?) I hope to post weekly.

I have so much to do today and I spent a great deal of time scrolling through Facebook pages and clicking on links, etc. today.




Has this become our lives????

What if Facebook disappeared? What if the world wide web STOPPED WORKING?

What would happen to us all?

First, I'm sure, there would be widespread panic. "Oh, no, NO SERVICE....I can't get in touch with: my mom, sister, boyfriend, husband, mother-in-law..."


In touch with....get in touch with? Hmmmm....are we really IN TOUCH?

Are we really tasting, smelling, hearing, feeling, seeing, LIVING our lives or is it all in this screen of ours?

Internet internet connection is DOWN!


Hmmm... when I stop connecting through this box, suddenly I can hear the birds, I see the cherry blossom tree in full bloom outside my house, I feel my bare feet on the cool wooden floor, I taste my hot tea....earthy, floral, orange....I smell the lilies on my dining room table.

I'm connected to this earth through my senses and through my senses I'm also connected to YOU and everyone.

And there is a sixth sense...intuition. When I ground and connect through all my senses, I feel what I really need to DO! It's always there and available.

This is the REAL world wide web, dear earthlings....

We are missing out on DIVINE experiences as we check out of our senses and check into technology.

Turn it off....just for awhile....and TUNE IN....what do you notice?

Friday, April 7, 2017

Divine Earthly Experience 7: Who are YOU?

 "You will recognize your own path when you come upon it, because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination you will ever need."—Jerry Gillies

 Hello fellow Earthlings:

 Lately I've been thinking about identity.

Who are YOU?

Or more precisely, I've recently asked, "Who am I?"

It's the age-old question and I'm sure there are many answers, but I believe almost ALL of it has to do with programming.

 When you were born, depending on what you believe, you came into this world with whatever was leftover from your past lives OR as a blank slate. Well, not completely blank, because I believe our true nature is something we each have that can't be carried over or even learned.

That innocence you had as a newborn. Can you remember any part of it?

Strangely, I remember lying in green grass as a baby. I remember the warmth of the sun and a soft blanket under me. I remember lying on my belly and clutching fistfuls of fresh green grass, testing out my grip. I remember the herbaceous aroma, so soft on my bare skin. I lived through my senses and I remember feeling elated to be alive. I remember seeing through my baby eyes with a sense of wonder and awe, but also with a slight hint of familiarity...I'd been here before!

And then the programming set in. The programming came first from my parents: "Don't touch that!" and "Don't go there!" or "If you are good, I'll give you a cookie." And I remember that there were rewards and punishments for things and it got confused with my parents' own emotions and their states of mind. Sometimes I was rewarded or punished for things that weren't consistent. I didn't want to rock the boat because there was enough turmoil in my life as a child. My parents ended up divorcing when I was young, around six, and I forever tried to please them. I grew up trying to please my mother and be a good girl. I learned a lot of behavior that simply was NOT MINE. I took on my parents', friends' and society's behavior. I conformed. I did what was expected of me given my home life, where I lived, where I went to school, etc.

All of this was my programming. I took it on. I became it and believed that's the way things were. I put a lot of pressure on myself to achieve. I wasn't good enough unless I was checking things off my list. I went to high school and became the "Outstanding Journalist of the Year" upon graduating. I got into college and before I left, during my senior year, we were asked to write down what we expected we'd be doing in 10 years. I wrote down my plans on a little slip of paper that was carefully placed in a film canister (time capsule). I was told I'd receive that canister back at my 10-year reunion.

I missed my 10-year high school reunion. I was thousands of miles away living in a tiny, Japanese, tatami-mat apartment in Sendai where I taught English. I lived in the suburbs and had few friends. I was lonely. Maybe the loneliest I'd ever been. My best friend from high school mailed me my film canister. I remember that day the mail man slipped the envelope through the mail slot. It fell on the freezing cold concrete floor that was my kitchen. My apartment smelled of Kerosene and was freezing.  With gloved hands, I ripped open the envelope and read the letter from my girlfriend and then carefully opened the canister, which had been sealed for 10 years. I took out the little piece of paper from the canister and read:

"I will be married with 2 children (a boy and a girl), I will drive an SUV and live in the suburbs and have an MBA or Masters in Journalism."

Shit! Here I was in my squat Japanese apartment, single, the owner of a BICYCLE with no masters degree in anything. What happened?

I am not really sure, but somewhere along the line, maybe after graduation from college, I had had an identity crisis. I did not know what I wanted, but I knew what I didn't want. I did NOT WANT TO SETTLE DOWN and live the life I was destined (or programmed) to live. I felt I needed to get FAR AWAY from everything I knew in order to find out who I really was. I traveled all over Asia. I went to Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Thailand, India, Tibet, etc. I studied Buddhism and I eventually married a Buddhist monk, moved back to Seattle, wrote a book (Lessons from the Monk I Married, Seal Press 2012) and
settled into a wonderful life of traveling, writing, teaching, etc. I felt so elated. I felt like I knew who I was. All the risks I took were worth it. I let go of a lot and found out what really called to me.

And then my husband left.

He ran off with a younger woman and left our 20-year partnership.

So much of my IDENTITY, the one I thought I really OWNED, was enmeshed with my husband. Who was I without him? I had built my life around this person. I had written a book about this person. NOW WHAT?

And I began to suffer an even BIGGER identity crisis. I was floating in a vast sea looking for anything somewhat stable to grab onto—a stick, a tire, a log. It was dark and lonely...lonelier than my time in Japan even.

I felt nothing. I felt I was nothing. Nothing to offer. I went into a shell. I went into hiding. I stopped writing and reaching out. I was in what some people call the "dark night of the soul" period. I didn't post on Facebook, I didn't write on my blog. I reached out to just a small handful of people eventually. That was it.

At some point it dawned on me, maybe 5 months or so down the line, that I had a gift. I could now be WHOEVER I WANTED TO BE. I didn't need to live by any other person's rules but my own. I took ownership of who I was. I decided to take a Burlesque class. I became VENUS ON FIRE. I have a stage name. I am sexy, fiery, strong, passionate, alive. I dance in high heels and sometimes dye my hair red. I wear sexy dresses and skirts and leggings and a flower in my hair. I buy myself fresh flowers once a week and get massages and drink fancy cocktails with names like "purple skirt" and "sex on the beach" and those very cocktails became sign posts pointing the way of my future. I would wear a purple skirt and have sex on the beach in the most passionate, romance-novel way you can imagine.

Who woulda thunk it? Well, I did. I CREATED IT.

We don't have to live PROGRAMMED lives. We can be whoever we want to be. We can create whatever identity we want and live a life that is our own.

I feel like when we are young, we accept all the programming that is around us because we need the experience, and as we get older, we have to DE-PROGRAM ourselves to find out who we really are or what we are drawn too.

One thing I uncovered about myself, that I don't think was programmed, is that I'm HIGHLY INTUITIVE and I was always afraid of this side of myself because being psychic is not something that was encouraged or accepted early on by my family or peers. Now, I've found my people. I am in an 11-month Clairvoyant Awareness Program at Psychic Awakenings in Seattle and I give weekly hour-long psychic readings to people along with my teacher and other class members. I have developed this side of myself that I always hid from before. Now, I am offering useful and valuable information to people that can help them on their journeys. And I'm still creating and uncovering parts of myself. I get to write my story and that's EXCITING!

Who are YOU?

Is it a question you care to know about? Do you feel you are leading a life that you created that is YOUR OWN or have you been programmed or influenced to lead a life based on your family, society and the people around you? Did you know you have a choice?