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I don’t even know how long ago I posted to facebook that if I knew how to be productive during chaos, I’d be getting a lot more done, or something to that effect that was funnier.

I have SO MANY PLANS AND IDEAS.  OMG so many.

2 minute videos teaching and celebrating self-healing, sacred sexuality, intuitive development, creative writing, finding your voice, and many more topics dear to my heart.

And the books I’m writing in my head, that I need to type up!  The intuitive tarot PLAYbook!  The memoir about how I became a Pagan psychic!  Sentence Interrupted: Memoir of a Moody Mama!  and others that are too unformed to list…fictions I’m dying to try my hand at…

I have meditations to write and record, e-courses to put together, in person workshops to organize and lead, videos for my main website about Love Your Life Coaching, my first book, the list goes on and on…

This morning I had some motivation in my inbox from another writer that I’ve never met in person:

“Hi, Ashley! I just had to get in touch with you. I literally just finished reading your book, which I received in the mail this afternoon, and I had to tell you how wonderful it was. It made me laugh, made me cry, made me feel angry, and made me feel joy. You are an excellent talented writer, making me feel like I was right there with you on your journey. I am looking soooo forward to the next book. Congratulations!”

Chaos, shmaos…it’s time to get organized!  It’s time to birth these babies and deliver them untothe world!

I’m taking myself out on a business date this afternoon, and I promise my friends and my fans that you’ll be seeing a lot more from this writer/healer/teacher within the week! ❤

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…and you can be compassionate even if you have a penis…

…just so you know.

(and you can be judgmental even if you have a vagina, to be fair.)

I just couldn’t resist the rhyme when it popped into my head. 😀

ANYHOO, my point is this:

Judgment means “an opinion.” We all form them.  Frequently.  And that’s okay…as long as it’s not getting in our way, interfering with our relationships, our work, our lives.

Compassion literally means “with love.”  It’s what happens when we try to see through the eyes of another being.  It is powerful, beautiful, and difficult to overuse.

Judgment labels, separates, assigns blame or responsibility.  Compassion accepts, embraces, and expands understanding.

What judgment hurts, compassion can heal.

I woke in a lovely mood today, and on my long commute I noticed a lot more traffic on the road than usual, and a lot more horns going off all around me.

It’s President’s Day, which some people celebrate by driving in a state of irritation and attemping to spread their mood with the use of obnoxious loud noises.

I chose to celebrate today by fantasizing about being interviewed on The Ellen Degeneres Show about my book after it comes out, and having her reveal to me that I’d reached number one on the New York Time’s Best Sellers list.

If I'm going to dream, I'm going to dream big!

Consequently, I felt happy and peaceful.  Every light was green, and every place I needed to turn left had a considerate driver holding space for me so I didn’t have to wait for the next red light.

When I dropped my three-year-old son off at his in-home daycare, the other half dozen toddlers shouted his name and ran up to him, each hugging and kissing him in turn, and he hugged and kissed each back before allowing one of his friends to lead him by the hand to the back yard, the other toddlers surrounding him like an escort.  I wish I’d had my camera for that moment!

Then, at Publix I got some watermelon and my favorite salsa and organic blue corn chips to snack on today, and I spotaneously decided to get treat myself with PureAlmond Dark Chocolate 8 oz beverages, which said buy 3 get 1 free.  When I got to the register, they didn’t ring up at the correct price, so the cashier gave me 2 for free!

NOM

Today, I was in Flow, a state of compassion, being filled with love…and love reflected all around me.

I’m still there.

I just wanted to share, so you can join me. ❤

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When I wrote the post about my personal plan of attack on healing anger, I had a very short fuse. If I didn’t get at least six hours of unbroken sleep, and if I missed a meal, I would catch myself getting angry over the stupidest things, yelling at my toddler for being too noisy or too active, silently berating people for not doing things the way I thought they should be done. Several times a day I would catch myself complaining,  having temper tantrums with stomping and cursing and being violent with my belongings, fantasizing about yelling at people or even hurting them, and I would notice that my fists were clenched and my shoulders and neck were way tense.

I was afraid of my anger, afraid that it would burst from me in a fireball of destruction and I would say or do something that I couldn’t take back. At the same time, I had less and less control over the volume of my voice, and I had a harder and harder time preventing myself from speaking in a way both mean and rude to children and adults alike.

RAWR. And stuff.

My plan of attack, to summarize quickly, looked like this:

  1. Recognize and acknowledge my anger.
  2. Find the real reason for the anger by journaling or talking about it.
  3. Come up with a short-term method of heading off the anger in the moment. (Like walking away, taking 4-10 deep breaths, angry dance, tickling my toddler, speaking in tongues, etc.)
  4. Take care of my mind, heart, body, and spirit so that I am balanced, calm, and peaceful by default.
  5. Forgive myself and the person or people who inspired my anger (Which is more difficult than it sounds…more on that in a later post.)

My goal was to feel peaceful and calm most of the time, and to have a back up plan to protect the people around me when I was off balance due to illness, pain, or lack of sleep.

It works!

I still get angry sometimes, but not every day, and not even once a week anymore. I still have some people to forgive long term grievances, but I know that in time I will be successful in forgiving them too.

I have learned that there are only three healthy, positive ways to release angry energy (that I can think of.)

  1. Laugh, especially if you can get others laughing too.
  2. Cry, by yourself if you must or with others if they need to (but don’t MAKE anyone cry.)
  3. Exercise – singing loud angry songs, dancing, jumping, running, chopping down invasive plants with machetes, push ups, lunges, beating the crap out of a punching bag or pillow…bonus points if you burn off the energy in a silly way that leads to laughter.

Angry behavior, however, is hurtful. Verbal, emotional, and physical violence against objects or people can feel cathartic, but they actually make things worse for ourselves as well as the people around us. One of the biggest problems of modern society is that most people don’t know how to deal with anger, how to use it constructively, and how to let it go without being destructive.

In that previous post about healing anger, I said that anger and fear are opposite ends of a deservability spectrum. Anger results from feeling like you deserve better (“That jerk should have listened to me…”), while fear results from feeling undeserving (“I’m not overreacting…am I?”). Most people feel both emotions at the same time because they have the same root – insecurity, lack of faith, lack of trust in ones’ self and the inherent goodness of the Universe.

Also, fear leads to anger…anger leads to hate…hate leads to the dark side. 😉

In the last few months, as I’ve worked on healing my anger, I have learned that anger can be helpful when it raises awareness of a problem and when it helps a person focus their energy on creating change.  It can serve as an alert, to let you know you have a problem that you need to fix.  Here are a few ways you can you use anger to improve your life and the world:

  • Be aware of how you feel and why you feel that way, and acknowledge the feeling and the right to feel it in yourself and in others. (“I see that you are angry. I’m here if you need to vent or if you want to brainstorm for solutions.”)
  • Inspire, don’t bully. Behave in a way you want others to emulate, without physical, verbal or emotional violence – even if someone behaves in a bullying way towards you.
  • Calm yourself down before you act or decide. Never act or make a decision while angry if it can wait even a moment. (It helps to have quick tricks for self-soothing, like sucking your thumb, taking a few deep breaths, making a joke, doing a jig…)
  • Recognize the tension and irritation building up before it boils over, and diffuse it with humor, tears, or exercise.
  • Use the energy raised by the anger to do something helpful to yourself or others. Let it inspire you to start an organization, raise awareness (with humor and concern, not accusation or bullying,) make art, clean your house or office, burn some calories, or some other constructive behavior.

I would love to hear other people’s stories of anger and forgiveness, other methods of healing anger or using anger to make your life and the world a better place.  Please tell me all about it in the comments! ❤

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Modern technology has made it possible to do the same work year round, and to do any activity any season.

However, our bodies and spirits are still operating on Earth’s time. Our bodies and spirits prepare for the changing seasons, even when our minds are otherwise occupied.

Now that we can do pretty much anything pretty much anytime we want, we never seem to get around to the things that matter most to us, and this throws us off balance.

When we’re off balance, any little thing can knock us down and set us back. So tonight, I’m going to show you a way to invite balance back into your body, heart, mind, and spirit.

For this healing rite, you need:

  • a bowl of water big enough to wash your hands in
  • about a teaspoon of sea salt (or plain salt)
  • a small glass of water (to drink)
  • a few minutes of uninterrupted time in a place where you feel safe and comfortable

Read over this whole rite before you get started so you know what you are doing.

Then, get comfortable.  Tell your brain firmly to stop chattering and let you heal.  Relax your body, and breathe deeply as long as you need to.

When you feel ready, pour the salt into your palm.  Cover the salt with your other hand.  Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and imagine all the stress, frustration, tension, worry, anger, fear, and pain in your heart, mind, and body flowing down your arms, through your palms, and into the salt.

The salt absorbs all the energy you put into it. It greedily sucks up the last bits of negative energy from your palms and holds it for you.

When you are ready, open your eyes, and wash the salt from your hands in the bowl of water, washing those ickies off of your hands and out of your life.

Now that you have removed that damaged energy from yourself, you have created a void that must be filled. Most people vent off their anger, pain, or fear…and then fill the void with the same pain, anger, or fear.  Counterproductive, much?

The only way to heal anger is to overwhelm it with love & forgiveness.
The only way to heal pain is to overwhelm it with joy & pleasure.
The only way to heal fear is to overwhelm it with peace & trust.

Now is the time to fill your own personal void with love, joy, and peace.

Hold your cup of water in both hands and close your eyes. Think in great detail about people, memories, and activities that make you feel confident, happy, safe, loved, special, and peaceful.  Let those fillings fill you up, and overflow from your heart, down your arms, through your palms and into the water.

When you feel ready, acknowledge that your water is blessed with love, peace, and joy, and that you accept this peace, love and joy as your own.  It helps to acknowledge this out loud…it makes it more real for you to hear your own voice saying it.   Then drink this blessed water, and visualize it filling your void, healing you, and making you whole and healthy.

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I stepped off of the wooden bridge onto the trail of sand, watching moonlit waves through the cattails. The cool breeze blew my hair off of my face and neck, smelling of salt and life. The rushing of the waves blocked all other sound, even the sound of my breath, as I slipped and slid through the powder fine sand, walking quickly and purposefully into the chilly water, following the trail of moonlight.

By the third wave, the water felt warm and the air felt cold. I stared into the eyes of the Mother in the full moon, and summoned Her comfort, healing, and wisdom. I spoke to Her, the waves setting the rhythm of my prayer, and asked her to help me release the pain, the fear, the anger, and most importantly, to help me forgive myself, value myself, heal myself.

I plunked onto my butt in the surf and let the waves wash over me, bringing the light to my body, and washing away the darkness that has plagued me of late. I waited, ignoring the curious passersby. Let the couples enjoy their romantic strolls, and let me enjoy my solitude!

As I sat in the water, watching the foam swirl around me, being tickled by curious fish, I thought about my stress, and opened myself to the wisdom of the Goddess. She reminded me of unconditional love, and showed me the error of my efforts to stop loving. I saw myself embracing him and telling him that I was angry with myself and taking it out on him, knowing that’s not fair to him, and apologizing to him for it. The vision brought tears to my eyes.

I remembered and understood that it’s myself I have to forgive, not anyone else. I have to treat myself the way I want to be treated. I can’t expect anyone to treat me better than I treat myself. Projecting my faults onto those around me, wallowing in fear and pain, and escaping into time wasting activities are all patterns from my past that I’ve slipped into because I am faced with a new, yet familiar, situation. Things aren’t going the way I want or expect them to, so I’m freezing and feeling helpless.

I’m not helpless. I know that. I take full responsibility for my life, the problems I’m having now, and the choices I made that have brought me here. Now I just have to deal with the consequences of my choices, and make better choices for the future.

I just have to remember to view every thing, especially myself, through the eyes of unconditional, unlimited love.

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6 May 2011

I woke to the gentle tapping of rain against the roof of our tent.  Beth was taking up her entire air mattress as well as half of mine, as only a 5’5 11 year old can.

It was a slow, cool, peaceful day starting with the meet ‘n greet at the Red Tent, and meandering around vendors row.  I did a bowl healing session for a woman with a chronic pain issue – her hands felt like they were on fire.  She seemed to be doing a slow yoga dance on the air mattress as the bowls sang for her, and afterward she was thrilled because she felt so much better.

That's the Red Tent, in case you were wondering. 😀

I talked to Seraphny and Fire Eyes Dreamweaver about healing, teaching, and personal strength by the café, sipping coffee in my huge mug.  Then I did readings – first for a wife, and then her husband…those two are headed for divorce.  Then I read for a pair of newlyweds individually, followed by their mother, and those were all positive constructive readings.  Balance in everything. ❤

Some of my favorite people, members of the Dirty Foot Tribe, came along for readings then, and afterwards I traded a bowl healing session for a Reiki massage with my neighbor.  Best. Trade. Ever.

Then, I passed the vending booth of Kerri, one of the members of Spiral Rhythm, the artist who makes the gorgeous coloring books (I have two of them!)  And I was struck by a sudden inspiration, and commissioned her to design my next tattoo, the one I’ll get to commemorate reaching my fitness goal of being a size 14 again someday.  It’s going to incorporate my logo, the seven chakras, the spiral goddess rising from the crescent moon, and I can’t wait until I finish paying for it so I can post an image here!

Kerri is the one in the middle. 🙂

I attended Fire Eyes Fire scrying workshop, and saw in the flames the hamza symbol (palm with an eye in the center, warding off evil and envy,) a rose bud, a willow tree that cracked open in invitation, to reveal owl.  There was a willow tree in my grandmother’s front yard, and she collected owls, so I took the last three images as a message of love from my grandma.  ❤

It looked kinda like this...

I went to drum circle for a bit before bed, but was too tired to dance.  I fell asleep with my spirit dancing to the rhythm of the drums.

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4 May 2011

I let Beth sleep in this morning as I made my trek from Ocala to Orlando, to pick up Phaedra Bonewits, a woman I was looking forward to meeting.  I previewed her book Real Energy, written with her late husband, Isaac, on my nook, and I was excited to talk to her about both her book and her upcoming workshops.

I had one of my trademark driving adventures, despite the fact that I’ve been to the Orlando International Airport dozens of times.  The airport-powers-that-be changed the rule about waiting at the arrival gate, and told me I either had to drive around or park.  First, I tried driving around, and somehow, I made a wrong turn and ended up driving through the never-ending bowels of the rental car kingdom, which I finally escaped no less than ten minutes later.

I called Phaedra after I finally parked, and she told me she was looking for her baggage, and I hung up without thinking to ask her for a distinguishing feature.  I had no idea what she looked like, but the moment I walked into the baggage claim, we locked eyes and I knew it was her.  That was pretty neat.  She wasn’t wearing a huge neon pentacle or anything obvious.  Actually, she blended in very well with the other tourists.  Only up close did I see the goddess earrings.

On the drive to the FPG site, we talked about energy work and the book she wrote with her late husband, Real Energy (pictured way above.)  I told her about a concept I’d recently read about in a book called Witch In the Bedroom, a technique the author of the book called power circles, in which a person charges a circle with feelings of success, joy, self-confidence, and accomplishment so whenever that person needs a confidence-boost, they just call their power circle up and step into it.  She told me that technique is also called “NLP,” or neuro-linguistic programming.  Whatever you call it, it’s an awesome concept!  I totally approve.

At one point in the conversation, a technique I developed for healing myself came up, which I call “un-crossing.”  I told her how in my daily meditation, I would go into my heart chakra and find myself as a little girl, crying in fetal position, and I would take her into the arms of my adult, maternal self, and comfort her, tell her I love her, that it wasn’t her fault, that she deserves love and the best in life, and so on until that little piece of my heart felt healed.  Sometimes I would go into painful memories and “fix” them, revising them to reflect what those moments should have been like, creating a dual memory, and allowing the positive memory to take precedence, healing another part of my heart and soul.

I told her how I have been able to forgive people by imagining them as damaged, crying children and in that form giving them unconditional love.  She complimented me on my wisdom, which was a lovely boost for my ego.  *grins

We also discussed the importance of being true to oneself, and how since her husband’s death, Phaedra’s been reclaiming who she is, as Issac was very prominent in the Druid community, and she is more inclined to practice a form of Wicca.  I also learned that her favorite potato chip is Ruffles.  In case anyone was wondering.

After I dropped her off at her cabin, I returned to our vending site to find that Beth had set most of it up in my absence, and she did an amazing job.  Keep in mind she’s only eleven!

Beth chose to accompany me to go pick up Patrick McCollum, whose flight was delayed.  We were waiting and waiting.  And waiting.

But OMG Patrick!  Holy guacamole was he more awesome than I ever expected!  He was regaling us with tales of his awesome adventures, some details of which can be read about in his book, Courting the Lady, which is available through his website: http://www.patrickmccollum.org/

Patrick’s current project is to help the street children of Nepal by educating them so they can make more of their lives than crime or being sold into slavery.  Patrick told us about his political work, how he has stopped wars from beginning.  He told us about his incredible, amazing, multicultural magickal violin, about being attacked by a hammerhead when he was a teenager, how he was at the first meeting of the main cast of the original Star Trek series before the series had even been pitched to a studio.  He’s living his dream, has Llewellyn connections and encouraged me to write and to send my stuff to him when its ready, because he may be able to hook me up. 😀

We returned to the campsite well after midnight, and gratefully accepted a ride back to our tent on a go-kart driven by a generous, wonderful man.  Beth sat with the driver, and I stood on the back, staring up at the brilliant night sky.  As the cool air blew my hair from my face, the vibrations of the kart massaging my limbs, I drifted into a semi-conscious state, floating home through the starry sky.

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