Sunday, July 11, 2021

Sacred Mornings and ramblings

I have been morning hikes are as essential to me as air ... they ground me, they invite me to explore, get curious, listen, notice, Be ... i soak in the sunrise into my body and I breathe in the universal energy and life force. The past few mornings I have been noticing the shadows and I have been reflecting on shadows and light.

Light rays travel in a straight line at nearly 300,000 kilometers per second, and sunlight travels toward the earth in just over 8 minutes. It boggles my mind when I think about how massive our universe is ... beyond my comprehension ... the closest the earth gets to the sun is 91 million miles. It amazes me that light only takes a little over 8 minutes to travel around 91 million miles to reach earth. 

The magnificence of our universe. I am in awe simply thinking about our earth ... so many places in this world I have not been .. then there are mountains, canyons, oceans ... and all the places we have not even seen. A large part of me hopes that humankind doesn't find ways to reach places in our world and in our universe so they are left untouched. 

And in the mornings as I see my shadow, or my pups Migizi's shadow as the sun is rising I have been reflecting on shadows. We see shadows when light can't get through opaque objects. Shadows only happen when there is a light source. 

Shadows are the both the absence and presence of light. For every shadow or darkness in my life I remind myself that there is a light source. In order for me to embrace the light source I must also embrace the shadows. 


Sunday, July 4, 2021

Feeling the presence and spirit of Mama

 I have been feeling the spirit and the presence of my mother (Mama) a lot lately. About a month ago I began experiencing severe symptoms of neuropathy in my left arm/hand. An event (a interaction with a dear friend of mine) triggered an intense emotional response and my body began experiencing a pain so intense I was unable to sleep. My forearm and hands felt like they were on fire. My hand and fingers were tingly and pretty numb; there was a shooting pain like a lighting volt that would shoot through my arm. Nothing I did; no adjustment of position; no movement or walking; no stillness  ... nothing eased the pain and all I could do was take deep breaths and pray. As a recovering alcoholic I have no pain meds of any kind in my home. I have believed when my body is in pain she is trying to tell me something; to communicate with me, and by taking drugs or pain killers I am shutting down what my body is trying to tell me. But that night, and the next few nights, I was in so much pain I found myself saying what I remember Mama saying when the drugs (gabapentin) she was on did not ease the

numbness, tingling and pain. She would say, why don't they just chop my arms and legs off! I used to think she was being a little dramatic and I realized I never truly understood the pain she was experiencing. That first night I found myself saying and wishing to just have my left arm chopped off to stop the pain. I took some over the counter pain meds and instead of it easing any pain it made my stomach also feel like it was on fire. I began researching and exploring options .. yup, Dr. Google. I had experienced the years ...decades ... of Mama experiencing the pain of neuropathy and seeing so many doctors, being prescribed meds and being told there was really nothing they could do ... i witnessed quite frankly how western medicine and doctors did not see my mother as whole person and wanted to just treat the symptoms. I also understand how when there is such intense pain you want the pain to just stop, or even ease. I have also come to learn and to believe in the amazing healing power and wisdom of our own bodies. 

So the first few days of intense pain was an LOUD sign to me that something was way off balance. I had slipped in my nutrition and eating chocolate, lots of carbs, gluten .. even processed foods. I knew this already, however. reading again the importance of nutrition in the healing of our bodies and lowering inflammation so I made a decision to remove the following from my diet: processed sugar, gluten, chocolate, dairy .... i used to treat myself to a matcha green tea coconut milk latte every morning and as delicious as it was I knew I had to give it up; i also gave up chocolate. I only drink water now (green or jasmine tea in the morning, plain), eat only fresh foods (lots of spinach, broccoli, shitake mushrooms, ginger, garlic, cumin, turmeric, salmon, chicken). I started taking a supplement i learned about called Nerve Renew about 3 weeks ago and 2 weeks ago began adding to my daily practices qigong with a renewed commitment and determination and belief in the ability of my body to heal itself and that healing of my being is made up of my body, my heart, my spirit/soul, and my mind. And all are connected. This Friday i see an acupuncturist to add to my surrounding support of holistic care and my commitment to well-being of mind, body, spirit, heart and community with intentionality.

The pain has reduced significantly. I still feel tingly and numbness but at a much lower level. I rarely feel the burning and the lightning bolts. I believe Mama is with me in my healing, guiding me, letting me know I am ready to heal some hurt parts of my childhood; letting me know and connect with her in a way we weren't able to when Mama was still around in physical form. I feel Mama's love; i feel her heart; i feel the joy now in her heart as she is with Papa; the little girl feels Mama (and Papa). I felt Mama's energy in my morning qigong practice .. and it was as her energy and the light entered my heart and filled up my being .. and then in my morning practice I am guided to direct the energy to places in my body that need extra care so I guided Mama's energy to my left arm and hand and then together visualized any blockages and excess energy turning to smoke, and then I felt Mama take the smoke and push the blockages and excess energy to the edges of the universe. Mama wants me to know she is with me. That I don't have to hold onto any emotional pain as she did; that I am ready to face into them and release all that no longer serves me from my body; that I am not alone ... that I have Mama, Papa, Ahnung, and so many more spirits ... she says I have quite the community of spirit guides and helpers in all forms. 

Thank you Mama (and Papa .. and Ahnung) for continuing to watch over me ... for guiding me ... for teaching me .. and for sending so many amazing spirits and guides for the time I am here on earth ... 

And to my dear friend who opened up the portal to another level of healing for me ... it was hard, it was painful and wow, am i ever so grateful now for the experience that led me to realize there is pathway for me to heal some old wounds on a much deeper level if I am able to muster up enough boldness and support ... and you my dear friend, I believe, have been sent to me by my Mama and Papa, and I am truly, truly grateful for you 💗

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Early morning hikes and why they matter

 It's been a while now - i actually don't remember how many years ago I made a commitment to walk every morning, no matter what the weather. And living here in Minnesota there are many months where temps are quite chilly, to put it mildly ... but my morning hikes aren't just walks; they aren't just about exercise. They return me to center; they ground me; they connect me with the spirit world, the natural world, and my inner world; they essentially reboot me ... and no matter what has transpired the day before or the night prior, I know that the sun sets every 24 hours, and the sun rises .. and when the sun rises I will be there to welcome her as she emerges above the horizon. I offer asema (tobacco) at the water every morning and i offer prayers of gratitude ... ever since my diagnosis of left ventricular non compaction in 2011 I have not taken my life for granted. I am grateful now for a diagnosis that made me face my immortality in an abrupt and jolting manner - and as a result, taught me how to live. Every day is a gift. I offer thanks for the gift of another day before i fall asleep at night ... and i offer thanks for the gift of another day each morning on my hikes. Amazingly, the last visit i had with my cardiologist earlier this year, he said to me, keep doing what you are doing ... I don't want to see you back for another 2 years, at which point, I asked, can we make it 3 years? He smiled and said, 'yes'. I truly believe our bodies (mind, body, heart) and the energy within and around us have the wisdom to heal ourselves. We simply need to activate the wisdom with us, individually and collectively ... and we need to listen .... truly listen ... not in ways we are accustomed to .... there are messages all around us ... we need to expand the view of where messages may arrive to us. When our gut and intuition is trying to speak to us ... we need to listen.

My morning hikes allow me to drop into my body - to notice the sensations in my body; to feel my body and where there is tension, softening, restriction. In addition to dropping into my body, I sense and feel the energy around me. I am in awe every morning with the beautiful patterns of the clouds and I often turn my body in a full 360 to soak in the unique and shifting patterns of the clouds and how the skies can look so different and yet connected. The sky and the clouds are a 3D panoramic and ever evolving canvas. And then I notice the wildflowers and the weeds ... the color, how they sway with the wind, and how they reach towards the sun. In nature I feel the aliveness in me and I acknowledge we are all connected - we are all related. Some mornings I am gifted with the presence of coyote, other mornings ... eagle, owls, turtles, hawks ... and each morning deer and so many birds .. and their songs, and their joy. Every morning my body and my being, that sometimes gets depleted from the worries, stress and busyness of life from the previous day, .... my being is filled up again with joy, awe, aliveness, energy, gratitude.

My morning hikes ... they matter for my heart, my body, my soul, my spirit, my mind. They are as essential to me now as the air I breathe. They remind me of my humanness; they remind me of my connection to all; they remind me of the minuscule role I play in this universe ... 

So yes, I am deeply committed to my early morning hikes and they are a part of my daily practices to care for my whole being so I can, in turn, be of service to the beings, communities and causes that matter to me in this life time.

A question for your reflection and consideration .... are your practices and habits in alignment with what matters to you? 

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Dipping my toes into the stream of writing again ...


So much has transpired over the years. I stepped away from posting on my blog. Not long after the passing of my beloved spirit dog Ahnung in August, 2013 I found the need to step back from publicly posting, and also simply writing. Now, I continue to receive messages from spirits and from friends, inspiring and inviting me to return to writing. Writing has been such a healing tool for me in my life's journey. I found escape as a child from emotions I was unable to express, and pain of not knowing or being taught how to navigate a world of armored walls around hearts, and a longing of a child to be loved that could not be met ... not because there wasn't love ... because of what i have come to learn is our own trauma and our pain we carry through our lives, unresolved, buried, locked in the hidden crevices of our brain that seep out and find ways to express pain in unfortunately harmful and hurtful ways. I continue in my life's journey of healing and returning home to myself and re-discovering who I am, what matters to me, what and who I care about, and who I want to be in this world. And I commit to practices that align to who I want to be in this world, the role I want to play in social justice and making this world a just and equitable world for all beings, and how I want to be in relationship with others. I had many significant health issues in the past and an elder once told me, Creator gifted you with Ahnung and she came to guide you and to also take the physical disease that had manifested in your body because my work on this earth was not done. The five short years I had with Ahnung (2008 - 2013) opened up portals of healing I could not have walked through without her. Her story didn't end in 2013. I am realizing now her story continues through me, and her story ... our story ... must be shared.

So today, I dip my toes into the stream of writing and sharing again. I write again with the spirit of Ahnung guiding me through the messengers and messages she continues to send my way every day. The story of Ahnung speaking to me through owls and their feathers is one that I will share another time. For now, I hold and carry the energy of Ahnung and the owl as I move forward into the world of writing and sharing again.

Aapiji go miigwech Ahnung for continuing to live in me and through me.


Sunday, November 17, 2019

Larissa Minicucci ... a bright new star in the night skies

Posted on November 14, 2019 on my facebook page ...  it is with great sadness and a heavy heart I share that our beloved Larissa has since crossed over into the spirit world on Saturday, November 16, 2019 around 3 pm. For more on this amazing human being please check out her caring bridge site:
As many of us prepare for the crossing over into the spirit world of our beloved friend, partner, mentor, teacher I want to share with you a photo taken at the Leech Lake SIRVS clinic in Oct. 2018 with Jonathan Elbaz, current president of SIRVS which shows the spirit of Larissa, the spirit of SIRVS, and the amazing fire and spirit of SIRVS (Student Initiative for Reservation Veterinary Services). I have had the honor of working with many SIRVS presidents over the years, and they have all been amazing (Molly Kubeczko-Schmidt, Rachel Marie, Kristen Capen and this year's president elect, Hilary Hooberman).
I picked Larissa up from home so we could ride together to Leech Lake ... we have many road trips and last year after her diagnosis with cancer we had two road trips (Red Lake and Leech Lake). We had long heartfelt conversations. She told me she wasn't afraid of death - she just wasn't ready. She talked for hours about two of her deepest loves - her work with SIRVS, the students, tribal communities .. and then she talked for hours about her husband Lou.
Yesterday at the hospital I promised her that her work with SIRVS and tribal communities will continue. That I know she will be with us in spirit and that I am counting on her letting us know if we flounder or go astray by sending us a strong message ... she smiled and there was a twinkle in her eyes.
Many of us are grieving deeply already. It's like someone stuck a knife in our hearts. And my heart hurts so deeply for an amazing husband who shared with me, in his own words, how he met Larissa 16 years ago. And there was a twinkle in both their eyes.
She has touched the lives of so many, and she wants us to continue this work. I encourage us all to find a way to talk to this overwhelming, all consuming grief ... I share with you one of my favorite poems. Grief has arrived at our door step. I am going to invite Grief in ... Grief brought me a puppy from the Mille Lacs SIRVS clinic (her name is Migizi, and when I held her i could feel Larissa's presence so strongly and was guided to name her Migizi). I will be adopting Migizi. With Ahnung (means 'star' in ojibwe - spirit dog from Red Lake), Ishkode ('fire' in ojibwe - from Leech Lake) and now Migizi ('eagle in ojibwe - from Mille Lacs) I promised Larissa our collaborative work with tribal communities will continue.
Together, we will keep Larissa's spirit alive. To my friends at Leech Lake and Mille Lacs and White Earth, I ask for your support and know I can count on you ... Shirley Nordrum Sharon Nordrum Veronica Bratvold Winnie Walleye Melissa Yuenger Angela Nordman Gary Wayne Branchaud Li Boyd Mary H. Skelly Tawny Warren
Please continue to hold Larissa in your heart as she prepares her transition into the spirit world ....
Talking to Grief (by Denise Levertov)
Ah, grief, I should not treat you
like a homeless dog
who comes to the back door
for a crust, for a meatless bone.
I should trust you.
I should coax you
into the house and give you
your own corner,
a worn mat to lie on,
your own water dish.
You think I don't know you've been living
under my porch.
You long for your real place to be readied
before winter comes. You need
your name,
your collar and tag. You need
the right to warn off intruders,
to consider
my house your own
and me your person
and yourself
my own dog.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Celebrating 31 years of sobriety, of living!

Yesterday, October 1, 2019 I celebrated 31 years of sobriety. I owe my life to a puppy. A puppy I named Splat (i was playing competitive racquetball at the time, and 'splat' was my favorite shot). I had fallen 'off the wagon'. I was in so much emotional pain and wanted to numb myself from the pain so I started drinking after one previous attempt to get sober. I drank and I drank and I drank. My Papa must have known that the only way to get through to his baby girl was to bring her a puppy, so he led me to this little girl, the runt of the litter. I remember meeting this woman in Chesterfield, Missouri at my mom's house. She was selling her puppies for $100. There were six cocker spaniel puppies. All were running around and rolling over each other, chasing each other, except for this one black cocker spaniel puppy ... she found her way to me and climbed onto my legs as I was seated cross legged on the grass, and curled up and went to sleep. I looked at the woman and said, 'this one. I want this one.' Splat was my first dog. After i had written the check and sent the woman off I thought to myself, what the heck have I done?! I have never had a puppy! I don't know what to do. This little tiny being needs me. I felt this huge responsibility to care for this being. I realized I had to get myself together ... get my life back together. So on October 1, 1988, I walked back in to an AA meeting after 2 years off the wagon. I chose life. I chose Splat. I chose a new path. And something inside me knew that this time around it would be different because i had an angel my Papa sent to me, a furry 4-legged precious being ... and my sweet little princess was my heart. She saved my life. Thanks to her, and my Papa, I am alive today and I am celebrating 31 years of sobriety and life.

I lost my beloved Splat very suddenly (and what I now believe to have been a hate crime) on July 20, 2000, shortly after I moved to Minnesota. I share more about this on a blog post I wrote in 2010 (her 10 year anniversary) ... I also share more about how she (and Ahnung), through my dreams, opened the door for me to begin my healing around the sexual abuse ... from my blog: ".... Interestingly, Splat (whom I named after a racquetball shot as I playing a lot of racquetball at the time) appeared in my dreams a couple summers ago .. in fact, it was a nightmare, but it was her way to tell me I was getting ready to begin a journey of some major healing ... and she was right. For a writing class i'm taking at The Loft I chose to write about the healing and transformation I have gone through in dealing with past sexual abuse. My piece opens with the dream I had where Splat appears in July, 2008. The piece ends with a dream I recently had (July, 2010) where my dog Ahnung appears and she takes my flying!! It was my dog Splat, who's been dead for 10 years, who opened up a door I've sealed shut for decades - the secret of abuse - and it's now my dog Ahnung who is helping me move through it .... I think God knows that the angels I need come in the form of furry four-legged beings :)" ...

Thank you Splat and Ahnung for working together over the decades to help me heal. I know you are both still with me, along with Shen, Shadow, Missy and Mister guiding me along in my life's journey. Together, we celebrate 31 years of sobriety!! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

RIP sweet Missy Bear RIP

We set Missy's spirit free yesterday morning. Grief has come again. She is here to stay. My heart hurts so deeply. I miss you Missy Bear. I miss you. Travel safe ... I find comfort in knowing you are once again with your siblings Ahnung and Mister. Till we meet again, on the other side sweet girl.