pink velour stuffed dice with rhinestones

At Ground Level: fuzzy dice

With March comes a renewed longing to find that elusive four-leaf clover- the epitome of luck. As a kid, did you ever fashion a four-leaf out of a common three plus “extra” and then scream your bloody head off to get your friends’ attention while you held your hand steady so as not to disturb your make-shift lucky find? Not saying I did that, just heard that that happened sometimes.

Pot o’ gold
What’s your lucky number?

Lucky Charms! If you didn’t eat a bowl of them as a kid, you at least learned something about what the folks around you believed brought them luck. Was it a horseshoe or ladybug? Bamboo or a bright copper penny? Maybe you have a favorite lucky number. Perhaps it’s the sight of a rainbow and the promise of riches that elicits squeals of delight. Did you know that fuzzy dice were born from a practice among World War II fighter pilots to bring along a lucky talisman, often dice or playing cards, on missions with dangerous odds? The Deccofelt Corporation capitalized on this tradition after the war and created the felted tchotchkes that have been a ubiquitous part of car culture since 1959. How’s that for a pot of gold?

self-made luck?

That brings me to musing about luck; do we wait around hoping luck will find us or do we make our own luck?

We probably all know someone who is referred to as “lucky.” Depending on the circumstances, they might be called, more specifically, “that lucky S.O.B.” What makes them so?

Tennessee Williams said, “Luck is believing you’re lucky.”

Yes, belief is the backbone of our intention and, as you know, living with intention is key. Through empowerment coaching I help people clarify their intentions. Let’s take a look at one way we can expand upon this practice of belief. I’ll use the acronym L.U.C.K.

l.u.c.k.

L = love

U = unlocks

C = core

K = knowledge

With unconditional love we have trust in, and unrestricted access to, our intuition, our core knowledge. In trust we reach a neutral but benevolently insightful place of willingness and acceptance. Listening to our inner wisdom leads us to make the right (and courageous) choices and our “luck” becomes our belief that everything is always working out for me and, by Divine design, love allows for our luck to work for the highest good and best for all. And if that isn’t lucky, I don’t know what is.

Thanks for spending a moment with me looking at things From Ground Level,

I’ll set the tone for you: Marvin Gaye singing Lucky Lucky Me

palm tree in fog

At Ground Level: Tule fog

When you meet someone newly relocated to the grand San Joaquin Valley of Central California the topic of weather will quickly be broached:

                “Hot enough for you? Well lucky for us it’s a dry heat.”

                                                                -or-

                “Winter’s pretty mild around here ‘cept…for the fog.”

At which point the newly arrived will probably answer, “Oh fog, no I’m used to fog, I grew up in [fill in the blank with the name of somewhere with anemic coastal-style fog.]”

Or better yet, they will tell you they grew up in the Midwest with snow blizzards. If you have good home training you’ll politely smile and welcome them to the area. If you’re not so well-mannered you’ll guffaw and tell them they have no idea what they’re in for. Either way, if you happen to meet up with these folks again a few months into “fog season” you’ll see their self-assurance has eroded and their eyes are bugged out and glassy.

At it’s thickest you cannot tell the difference between Tule fog or my mohair sweater.

“This is way worse than any fog/snow I’ve ever seen. It’s soooooo thick!”

[ “Toldja!” (or, wanted to tell you) so!]

Fog greeted the King kids on their move to California 1964. (However, we left the snow gear back in Michigan.)
Tule

Tule (too-lee) fog is a weather phenomenon unique to the San Joaquin Valley. Named after the Tule River, the fog is produced when moist air fills the valley bed and is trapped against the cold damp ground by an inversion layer of warmer air above. Essentially the vapor droplets in the fog freeze forming an impenetrable cloud of suspended ice. Seeing the fog make its winter-y creep into the Valley got me to musing about patience.

patience

Prior to the start of every year, I pull an angel oracle card with a quality to chew on throughout the next year. In essence it becomes my theme for the year and a guide post through the months and events in my life. Patience was my angel message for 2019 and, boy-oh-boy, was this theme thick in my life last year!

She’s knitting!!!

That message of patience drummed loudly as I launched my Hummingbird Alchemy business. It whispered in my ear as various family members encountered challenging situations. I heard it buzzing overhead like fluorescent lighting while I slogged through commitments to projects and groups and decisions related to each of those commitments. I was reminded to be patient all year long and I would

[insert huff of breath right here]

tell myself to be patient until I finally had a sit-down with myself to take a closer look at my energy exchange with my “need” for patience.

waiting vs. patience

I looked at my expectation that patience must have a pace; that even in the pause we consider to be our place of rest inside patience there is still that straining against the reins that the gallop will soon commence if I just take a breath right here…and wait. But waiting and being patient are not the same thing. Waiting is expectation nursing a giant Tootsie Pop – someday you’ll reach that chewy center. On the other hand as I’ve recently discovered, patience has no outcome, no chewy nougat reward at the end. It.just.is.

in the mist

 And that brings me back to Tule fog…Have you ever tried to keep an object clearly in your sight lines with the fog swirling around you? Impossible, no? In fact, the strain can bring on hallucinations. Instead, if we relax into the fog surrounding us and soften our gaze, our other senses heighten.  We are brought back to ourselves to a sensual experience of life at this precise moment. Fog is not linear. It swirls and curls. Opening up unexpectedly in one moment and then the swallowing whole objects or vistas in the next. There is no need to pause or hold our breath to wait for something to happen. Everything that needs to happen is. Just like those ice crystals suspended in air. It might seem like they are stuck, held in stasis, but without watching and waiting events are occurring. Tule fog contributes its unique qualities to the ecosystem just by being. That is the gift of fog. That is the gift of patience.

I wanted reassurance that patience had a pace, that it moved me closer to a finish line, but I have come to realize that I can’t make slow or fast from patience. I can, however, find peace.

Can you find it, too?

Thanks for spending a moment with me looking at things From Ground Level,

P.S. Feel like you need some peace and patience in your life? Schedule a session with me https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=17985448

P.P.S. Freedom is my 2020 angel. I’ll keep you posted.

At Ground Level: roadside assistance

( With a nod and apology to Jackson Browne & Glenn Frey for takin’ some liberties.)

roadside sunflowers viewed from a moving car
On the road…again

Well, I’m running down the road
Tryin’ to loosen my load
I’ve got seven worries on
My mind
 
All that wanna haunt me
Two that saw & gnaw me
One says it’s not even mine

How often am I running down the road, running through a list of thoughts, so consumed by the ‘what ifs’ that I am startled when I arrive at my destination –How did I get here?

call 1-800-fix-that-flat

There is roadside assistance available when the coulda/woulda/shouldas take control of your steering wheel. I find support shows up immediately when I take a look out the window and take in the sight of Helianthus annuus. Yes, I’m talking about the common sunflower; available 24/7, no membership required.

Consider the qualities of this plant: It’s tough. It’s scrappy; unfazed by zillions of ants. You will find it sprouting in arid terrain with a dust index level (DIL) that keeps Kleenex profits in the green and yet the sunflower still manages to rise up and bloom in solar arrows of the most audacious hue.

willpower = horsepower

This roadside “weed” most of us drive past on a daily basis says to me: stay present and look out the window instead of into the done/over-withs or maybe/what-ifs. When I see its bright yellow it reminds me to check in with my solar plexus chakra –the point from which we take action to express our courage and willpower- our reason to be here. I ask myself: How am I translating my brightness into the world? What would courage have me do today?

So the next time you’re sidelined by worries & insecurities, think about the faithful, sturdy common sunflower. It holds the key to help get you back on the road.

What will courage have you do today?

You might say I have a thing for sunflowers.

We’ll be talking about the solar plexus at the next Chakra Balancing class. Join us!

Thanks for spending a moment with me looking at things from ground level,

PS Feeling the need for a road song? Vintage Eagles here or the mature and natty Eagles’ version here.

UPDATE: A hand-knit pair of red wool socks is in progress for the first-ever winner of the Hummingbird Alchemy subscription contest! Hopefully she’ll share pictures with us. Thanks to everyone who participated!

At Ground Level: red socks

October is near

‘Tis the season for red socks. No, not that iconic Boston pair with their stats like RBIs & GIDPs. If you know me even just a little bit you know I don’t understand a GIDP but if you know me just a little bit more you know I am going to somehow manage to cleverly sneak in a mention of something hand-knit!

skein of red yarn
the before picture

Actually, ‘tis the season for a lot of things and that’s why I felt inspired to get myself ready with a new pair of hand-knit red wool socks. What ‘lot of things’ do I mean? Runny nose. Sandpaper throat. Achey-breaky joints. Seems the ailments start swirling around us as we ease into Autumn. Thanks to my friend Dr. Carrie Kaiser, MA ND I learned how socks can help me avoid the malaise (tossing in a bit of French for your entertainment & education) with a good ol’ fashion home remedy.

You will need:
  • One pair of thin cotton socks (Yes, I’ve been yammering about wool, but you’ll need both types and knitting a pair of cotton socks is not as fun.) The cotton socks can even be a cheap pair from the hosiery aisle at your grocery store -if your grocery store still has a hosiery aisle –L’Eggs!– just make sure they are made mostly of cotton. Any color works; For me it’s the fond memories of parochial white.
  • One pair of wool socks. These need to be w-o-o-l because wool has natural wicking and thermal-dynamic properties. Think sheep. Think outdoors. Think wet and windy moors. Any color but I’ll explain a little further on why I am a proponent of red. Do you have to knit your own? No, but I’ll tell you later why I think this is a good idea, too.
  • Ice-cold water. Ice-cubes-in-a-bowl-of-water type cold or a ‘Yooper toddy’ as we like to say in my house.
  • Resolve. Yes. That.
Bonus entry if you can identify me in this crowd!
How to use:
  • The first day your body starts sending you signals that you have encountered “the un-friendlies” you want to assemble the items listed above. The sooner you take action, the faster your results, so if you already have the socks in your house you only have to remember where you put them.
  • Just before bed, soak the cotton socks in iced water. Get them nice and wet and then wring them out as best as possible.
  • Put the cold, wet cotton socks on your feet.

[not gonna lie, this takes resolve & will bring back lots of, perhaps un-fond, memories of writhing into a wet bathing suit]

  • Now pull the dry wool socks over the cotton pair and climb into bed. You might experience a few minutes of weirdness, but really that’s just your mind trying to grapple with newness. Tell it to shush.
  • Sleep.
The science behind it as told by me:

While you sleep the vessels in your feet will work to alternately warm then cool the body which activates your circulatory and lymphatic systems. These systems are responsible for delivering the nutrients your organs need to function. At the same time, these systems are working to remove the waste and “un-friendlies” that cause congestion, inflammation, etc. It’s like bringing in an extra cleaning crew to clean during off-hours.

The next morning you will probably feel like you gained the upper hand on this thing as your body continues to do its amazing job defending itself. You might want to repeat again the next night but I’ve never had to do this for more than 2 nights in a row.

Why red?

Colors have an impact on our sense of well-being and influence the flow and amount of energy in our body. Red supports health and physical vitality and studies have looked into the use of the color red to increase resistance to infection. Since the slow deeply grounding energy of red adds an extra boost of healing why not take advantage of the power of red by wearing some while you sleep?

Why knit my own socks?
red hand-knit wool sock in progress
Not just sole-ly functional but fabulous!

[dragging out the sturdy soap box here…I’ll keep it brief] The act of knitting in itself is therapeutic and encourages the synapsis in the brain to be on their best behavior plus the wonder and fulfillment in creating something of substance from twisted fiber is divine. That said, in this case it is the purpose I give to knitting these socks that is of importance. I knit my socks as a means to take control of my health. It is that intent that is important. With each round of stitches and K2, C2/1R, I hold the intention of healing and health for myself. And intention is everything.

here’s your chance

Want your own pair of red wool socks? I’ll be gifting a pair of hand-knit wool socks to one lucky email subscriber – make sure you subscribe before October 10, 2019 at midnight PDT. I’ll randomly choose a winner and will notify this lucky-ducky by email to get all the sizing deets. Don’t think you want socks? Subscribe to my email anyway & you can give away your winning pair to someone else and pretend you knit them yourself!

Already receiving my emails? Leave a comment here and you will receive an extra entry for the hand-knit sock give-away.

finished red wool sock posed with wool chicken footstool
Wishing you good health!

Thanks for spending a moment with me looking at things from ground level,

For those of you fervent knitters in the crowd (is there any other kind?): I’m using Malabrigo Sock in Ravelry Red for the Slow Fade sock pattern by Kate Atherley published by Knitty.com First Fall 2017.

At Ground Level: a shopping cart

The scene

A spacious strip mall parking lot. Sunlight glazes over the cages of hefty shopping carts strewn across the asphalt like grazing sheep. You see a few carts caught drunkenly hanging half-in the greenspace planter, half-out. Over there to the far left are carts –almost where they belong- jim-jammed in a holding pattern they can’t break free of, a zig-zaggy chain that spills over the line of their holding corral -students just waiting for the teacher to turn away so they can make a break for it.

As I gingerly maneuver my car through this minefield in an effort to keep my (fairly new) automotive finish from a forced kiss with woven metal on wheels, a thought comes to mind: too often we treat our energy like these shopping carts.

Wait! Hear me out…

When we aren’t conscientious caretakers of our Light and don’t maintain healthy energetic boundaries we leave emotional turmoil in our wake.

Have you ever…

  • Verbally snapped back at an innocent target then stewed, unresolved, in the guilt?
  • Wanted so desperately for everyone to be happy that bits and pieces of yourself were left in shreds everywhere and you lost track of what you really value?
  • Had to be right and make darn sure everyone around you knew you were right?
  • Blamed everyone and everything for the woulda/coulda/shouldas in your life?
abandoned orange shopping cart
Remember where you parked?

A healthy, mindful life means we stay aware of our shopping cart. We understand and appreciate its function and use it with consciousness. We take responsibility for its care and don’t haphazardly abandon it, leaving it to someone else to wheel back home.

It’s the unfinished business that keeps us stuck out there in the middle of the parking lot.

abandoned metal shopping cart
The getaway car(t)

Want to learn more about maintaining your personal boundaries? I’m teaching a class & I’d love to have you join me.
register

Thanks for spending a moment with me looking at things from ground level,

At Ground Level: a leaf

At Ground Level might not seem like an enlightened term, I mean, if you are reading this you are probably working toward Up and Out, am I right? But I like a challenge: when I look differently at the mundane and commonplace what opens up for me and what can I learn?

all around us

Like leaves. Mostly we admire their shapes, colors, and shade (asphalt parking lot+105° -need I say more?) During grateful moments we might also acknowledge a leaf’s function to feed us the oxygen we require but how often do we extend our interest to a leaf that’s past its prime? Maybe a playful stomp through piles of dried leaves (Sweet Gum are my fave!), or we find ourselves on Naked and Afraid and we need tinder to cook the three itty-bitty hermit crabs we caught (I am nothing but positivity here!)  Yes, there is use in what might seem useless but can we see the beauty?

pause

Not too long ago, on a morning walk through my neighborhood, a lone partially shriveled leaf in the street caught my eye.

I pointed it out to my husband as I fumbled around for my phone.

My husband stopped to focus on what I was pointing at, uncertain that he was looking at what I wanted him to notice.

Do you see the hummingbird? I asked.

And there it was, curled on the pavement, a small leaf in the process of decomposing, and it had a message for me. I was in the midst of one of life’s transitions and had many questions about the what, where, when, and how. Was I? Could I? Here was an answer sitting in the middle of the street!

Be present with joy.

Hummingbird shaped leaf on the pavement.
Joy!

Right then I committed to move forward with my healing practice and the name was born- Hummingbird Alchemy. Joy is transformative!

So even a leaf that’s jumped off its perch has promise and a purpose, don’t you think?

Thanks for spending a moment with me looking at things At Ground Level.