Pondering on Four Big Questions; And A Showcase of Four Amazing Friends


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 A dear writer-thinker-lady-friend kindly invited me to join in a blog hop and to ponder a few questions in where I am at in my journey of writing, creating, breathing and just being human. Well, of course, without a hesitation, I said yes ~ not to promote myself, but to make myself create some space to actually reflect on where I am right now, and where I might be headed. AND, I wanted to have the chance to shout out to the world some of the most amazing friends I’ve made out there in the writing, creating, heart and soul seeking world.

Jeff Goins, a writing teacher I’ve learned so much from, writes that “content is not king ~ it’s all about relationships.”  Well, we know we need to have something worth saying for someone to spend time reading it, BUT, if we don’t have others to share with, it’s only helping ourselves.

 So, here are the Four Big Questions ~

 1.  What am I working on?

 I love how Laura Risser Moss, in her blog, gratefulamazement,  writes that at this time in her life “the curtain on her Second Act is rising”.  I could not find more perfect words to say this is where I am as well.  My children are emptying the nest.  I’m having more time to discover who I really am – other than, wife, mother and teacher of children.

 I’m learning to listen to my body, heart and soul more, as my mind is being ordered to take more time to sit on the bench, or riding the pine, as my husband used to say during basketball season. It’s pretty hard to quiet a voice that’s been leading the parade for so many years, but my heart and soul are pretty pleased.

I’m in my bliss when I’m writing, teaching, creating, learning, helping or guiding others in finding their own true self, but also in helping others to speak and to trust their own voices.  I am working on a hodge-podge of projects right now to live out this bliss.

My bravest step begins August 1st, as a 28-Day Living the Writerly Life E-course.  I began writing this several years ago when I took an online course, called Flying Lessons, by Kelly Rae Roberts, but fear kept showing her scary face and I’d tuck it away.  Well, one day, when the scary monster was out barking at someone else, I hit publish and out to the world the course flew!  There was no turning back.  I can not contain the excitement I have bubbling up inside me to begin this journey guiding others in living like a writer and into hopefully believing that they truly are writers as well.

 In 2012, I vowed to listen to my soul and instill more creativity in my life.  Jeff Goins, was offering a free writing e-course at the time called, You Are A Writer, and this course became the door I entered that opened up an entire world of possibility.  I began two blogs, islandsofmysoul.com and theliteratemind.blogspot, joined a few writing groups, one called Tribe Writers,  and am now working on a book about listening in education.  It’s a timely book due to the increasing use of technology and lack of face to face communication.  This book was born two years ago, so I need to do a giddy-up on it before something more attractive diverts my attention.  It usually does.

I also have two other E-courses marinating in my brain right now as well.  One revolving around writing through our brokenness and the other, a course designed to heal ourselves while taking a journey through our mind, body, heart and soul.  I’m hoping to invite some other fabulous women into this e-course.  These courses came to me during my own writing and through a need.  Our world is going through a huge shift right now.  I’m feeling so much pain and brokenness “collectively”, as my friend Bridgette says, and my soul is crying to help do some healing in any way I can.  Perhaps this healing will take place through writing.

Julie Cameron writes that we need other creative sources besides writing, so that when writing feels stagnant, we can switch gears to another medium and that restocks the writing well.  Art journaling is this other passion.  While painting and using mixed media, messages of encouragement, inspiration and guidance fill my pages.  To keep my art journal girl happy, I participate in the Life Book 2014 online community of art journalists.  Each week is filled with a new lesson by an amazing artist and energetically filled connectedness with others.  Almost by magic, my art journal images often fit perfectly with my blog post writing.  Funny how that works.

 More recently, I’ve been nudged towards making Spirit Dolls. These are dolls created by a its maker to hold energy or an intention, lead one to a dream or to guide one in their path.

I’m not sure where these creative parts of my being will lead me, but for now, I’m just feeling the flow and enjoying the journey.

In August, I go back to my full-time job of being a literacy coach at a K-5 elementary school, so I fear writing and creating will slow down.  I am vowing not to let that happen this year as my artist self begs me to integrate creativity into my work wherever it’s possible.  Working with teachers and children, there’s plenty of room for this if I just pay attention.

2.  How does my work differ from others of it’s genre?

 Well, I’m not 100% positive as to what my “genre” is yet.

What I do know, is that my writing flows from my heart and soul.  It’s not always me putting those words on the page.  It might be poetry one day.  Another day, it could be a short narrative or reflective essay.  I’m still searching for my voice and theme, yet, I like to believe my words are healing and filled with an energy that radiates light, love, and hope.  Sharing my vulnerabilities and my own brokenness has connected me to others that feel pain, too.  If I can help others, even if only a few, to heal through the use of tools that have worked for me, then I am grateful.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I write what I do in order to live.  If I neglect writing, the rest of my life begins to get muddy. Foggy. Unclear.  Depression seeps in.  Writing gives me clarity and direction.  It clears the cobwebs and allows my soul to speak.

Most of my writing remains in notebooks.  I am faithful to Morning Pages each and every day – at least a full 3 pages of whatever comes out of my flowing pen.  Sometimes, words from these notebooks find their way into my blogs, but often, they remain in my notebook as answers to my wonders or lessons learned.

I write what I do on my blogs as a way to reach out to others who may be wrestling with what I wrestle with.  Perhaps they have tools they can share with me, as well.  But, mostly, it’s to share what has helped heal myself in hopes to help others.  It’s a way to build community and affirm to us all we are not alone and that we all share the same humanness.  I’ve learned that writing is one tool I can use to share my gifts of teaching and helping others heal ~ through words.

4. How does my writing process work?

Not very well.

Like I said, I am faithful to my Morning Pages every day, but beyond that, it’s a circus.  Writing for my eyes only are like breathing.  Once I desire to put something out there for the world, my hands hover over the keyboards for a lengthy period of time.  My fingers often weep at what comes out.  It can take me all day to do a blog post as I am also a bit of a researcher and feel obligated to have some valid words from others to support my own opinions.  I am critical of my words and attempt to weave in craft, trying out different leads and structures.

Once a blog post is written, I leave it sit for a period of time and come back to look at it with new eyes.  Of course, I won’t like it.  And, chances are, I’ll change the whole piece or choose just to chuck it.  If it doesn’t feel like it came from my heart, I can’t send it to the world.

One of the biggest roadblocks that hinders my process is the fear of ever sounding expert-ish, know-it-all-ish, self-promoting, judgmental, critical or laced with ego.  I scour my words for any evidence of these demons.  Often times, even when I know my words are written with love and compassion, my fear will tell me otherwise and the words will sit in my draft box indefinately.

My writing process truly is a love/hate relationship for me.

Wow. . . those were some pretty thought provoking questions.  The answers are true for me today, however tomorrow they might be totally different.  These four questions might be path unfolding for anyone to ponder on.

Now ~ here are some amazing writer-artist-healer-people, that I call my friends~

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Laura Moss is beyond grateful to be able to say she has survived being Mom to 4 spirited girls, a battle with aggressive breast cancer, and some difficult seasons in her almost-25-year marriage. She calls herself a Creative, is drawn to beauty in all its forms, and loves loving on people. You can find more of her musings at gratefulamazement.wordpress.com.

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 Leslie Molen is a doll and textile artist.

I have been a full time artist for over twenty years, specializing in dollmaking and textile arts. I have had discussions with friends about what keeps me going, the drive to continue onward.

 Many comment on how I nice it is that I have found my passion…

pas·sion

noun \ˈpa-shən\ : a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.

I tell them it is my calling, I must do this- create in cloth.

call·ing

noun \ˈkȯ-liŋ\

: a strong desire to spend your life doing a certain kind of work or impulse toward a particular course of action especially when accompanied by conviction of divine influence.

And so my journey to create in cloth continues…this past year I have taken a step back from teaching so that I may start to work towards focusing on my personal art. It is a slow endeavor that will take time to nurture into existence! Stay tuned!”

You can visit Leslie’s page at Rootie Studio and her blog at from these Hands.  Prepare to get lost in her studio!

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James Prescott is  a writer and author from Sutton, near London in the UK.  He loves writing, encouraging people, and seeing people discover their true identity.

“My life journey keeps on teaching me lessons about discovering hope in an imperfect world, and how we can discover our own unique stories in the the midst of this. I share those lessons here in all their brutal honesty.

I’m believe deeply in the power of encouragement. When I was only 12 years old my Dad gave me the opportunity to help him write a major newsletter – which set me on a writing journey. That journey has led me to create this blog and author three books.

If you’re interested in discovering your true identity, if you have a passion to make a difference in the world, if you know you’re broken but are looking for hope, you’re welcome here.

If you want open and honest discussion about issues which matter, or like facing up to the important but difficult questions of life, or you’re a human being, this blog is for you too.”

Early in 2015 James will be releasing his first full-length book, ‘Mosaic of Grace: God’s Beautiful Reshaping of Our Broken Lives’.

To read James’ written words, visit him at jamesprescott.co.uk, or read his bi-monthly posts over at digi-disciple, run by the Big Bible Project, and he also guest posts for prominent authors and bloggers Sarah Bessey, Jeff Goins & Mary DeMuth, amongst others.

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Bridgette Doer connects others to their inspired intuitive life.  I’ve worked with Bridgette and she is the real deal.

“I am overflowing with creative, empowering energy with so much anticipation for what is possible for all of us. There is so much untapped potential, so much capacity. We are much more than we believe we are at this moment.

When I accepted the invitation to be a channel for empowering women by inspiring intuition, the fun energy of the Fairy Grasshopper was created. It is my mission to activate hope, inspiration, and POWER  to help to you grow and glow!  I am in love with my Inspiring Psychic and Soulful Women Empowerment work! It’s not just my job- it is who I AM. I look forward to connecting with you, to cheering you on!”

Bridgette’s website and blog is at fairygrasshopper.com.  She is one amazing woman.

The Beginnings of My Spirit Doll

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The Universe if a crazy place and every day, I am guided to where and who I need to go next along my path.  It affirms my belief in a higher power, yet baffles me at the same time.

Last week was one of those weeks where you are shaken a bit.  Life feels cluttered, too much is coming in, events happen that upset the apple cart.  I remained true to meditating and listening to my inner voice, and one morning I opened an email that was just junk.  An email from Pinterest that suggests other pins you might like.  If you are on Pinterest, you get these daily and I typically just delete them.  Well, on this day, I was guided to check them out.  Mind you, it was 8:30am ~ it’s very dangerous to go on Pinterest this early in the day, especially when my mind is at it’s peak and I should be doing more constructive things. . . like WRITING!

Regardless, I was sucked in.  Too late.  Hooked by the dragon.

I was led to a spirit doll.  I love dolls.  Years ago, when my children were small, I made cloth dolls from recycled clothing for craft fairs and shops to earn extra money.  Every doll was a part of me.

Then, as my kids became more involved in sports, I began teaching full-time, the doll hobby was neglected and eventually I sold all the material and collections I accumulated for doll making at a garage sale.  It was extra weight that I needed to clear out.  I needed to make room for the new.

But still, I’m drawn to dolls and doll makers.  I feel a pull whenever a doll maker talks of her work or I see a handmade doll.

This particular spirit doll let me to a woman’s spirit doll wall page of which I began pinning away from.  Inspiration rose inside of me.  I could feel my soul coming alive and my mind swirling with possibilities.  I knew I needed to make a spirit doll somehow and venture back into the world of dolls. I missed them so much and they were calling me.

After a substantial loss of time, and feeling a little giddy, I decided I needed to thank this lady for the inspiration she brought me today.  I found her on Facebook and sent her a small message of appreciation.

Immediately, she messaged back telling me about who she was.

I was intrigued and was nudged to ask her about her journey.

She replied, “Why don’t you give me a call.  Here’s my cell #.”

Wow.  Really?  Cell #? Who does that?

I told her I would sometime.  Truly wanting to, but, I know how busy people are and honestly hate bothering them.  I was sure she was just being polite.

“How about now?  Do you have a minute?” she continued.

“Ummm. . . okay,” I replied.  Holy Kamoly.  This amazing woman was serious.  

This was just too much.  But, my intuition said, “Call her.”

And. . . I actually did have time.

So, I did.

We talked for 2 hours.  I filled 18 sticky notes with thoughts.  She felt like an old soul who had gone before me.

I shared with her my apple cart tipping over and my forks in the road and she told me I needed to make a spirit doll for guidance.  Gather a group of women together and create spirit dolls.  There is power and energy in this, she said.  Your spirit doll will tell you what you need.  Listen to her.  

She led me to  Joanna Powell Colbert’s website, where a How To Make A Spirit Doll e-book is free.  Thank you, Joanna.  Oh my goodness, my energy centers were just spinning and flowing.

I am so grateful for the women that have come into my life as mentors and guides.  Miraculously, when my journey with one woman ends, another appears for the next leg on the path.

Off to the thrift store I went to snatch up anything that spoke to me for my Spirit Doll.  I know my theme/intention for this doll will be of fearlessness, protection (energy) and peace.  I did not googling and was brought to ancient Goddess Tara.  Hmmm. . .

I’m not sure where I’m going with this, but it feels right.  

Sometimes, we just have to trust.

Who will join me?

Shari 🙂

 

How To Release the Brokenness We Carry in Our Hearts

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It’s interesting how a single event can shoot the gates up around our hearts instantaneously and the choice to play the old records in our minds shifts into automatic.  Entire albums even.  Over and over again.  Stuck on repeat.

We sometimes work really hard to throw out those old records, narratives, stories. . . convincing ourselves of their untruths and we attempt to rewrite new, more compassionate songs, in hopes to slowly allow the gates to be drawn in order to feel again.  To love again.  And, to live in peace.  To open our hearts.

However, when an event occurs that cause us to revert back to what we thought we released, we know there is more to unearth, more to learn about ourselves and who we are.  More to grow and transform.  We are never finished releasing.

We all carry deep pain in our hearts and souls.  All of us.  It’s an “Open Secret“, Rumi calls it.  The human behaviors we display (and probably are not very fond of) are a result of that pain.  The workaholic overworks because his father told him he’d never amount to anything.  The alcoholic drinks to numb the pain carried from a high school coach who instilled the belief that he was just not good enough.  A teenage girl exercises obsessively to block the pain of the words of a boyfriend  that said she was gaining weight.  An angry boss yells because in his childhood, he was expected to do things right and if not, punishment followed.  Whatever the undesirable behavior is that we unconsciously display, it’s rooted from pain.  We even tend to live out this story.  These lies.

The wonderful gift that we humans have been given that no other animal species has, is to be able to go back to that pain, feel it,  acknowledge it, release it and then find a new truth.  This is how we rewrite our stories.  We can reopen our heart to others this way and change our behavior, rather than to live with a blocked heart, a stuck flow of energy.

Michael A. Singer, in The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, writes that energy that comes into us HAS to keep moving.  He tells us:

Long term, the energy patterns that cannot make it through you are pushed out of the forefront of the mind and held until you are prepared to release them.  These energy patterns, which hold tremendous detail about the events associated with them, are real. They don’t just disappear.  When you are unable to allow life’s events to pass through you, they stay inside and become a problem.  These patterns may be held within you for a very long time. We are either trying to push the energy away because it bothers us or we are trying to cling to it because we like it.

When you resist that release, the energy gets packed up and forced into deep storage within the heart.  In the yogic tradition, this is called a Samskara.

These Samskaras end up running your life.

If they build up sufficiently, you will find yourself in a state of depression.  Eventually, everything appears negative because the world of the senses must pass through this depressed energy before it gets to your consciousness. Even if we are not prone to depression, it builds up over time and gets blocked.  This affects how we live.

Singer shares, in his book, the process for releasing these blocks, or Samskaras.  It’s quite amazing.

Imagine these blocks in your heart as thorns.  Visualize them penetrating your heart and protruding all the way to the outside of your body.  They stick out.  Whenever someone, something, or an event brushes up against a particular thorn, it hurts.  That Samskara is being disturbed.  You have a few choices when this happens.  Well, first, you can prevent it from happening by avoiding any situation that might disturb the thorn. If we do this though, we are not living to the fullest.  We are living in fear.

What Singer suggests we do is to just be centered, conscious enough recognize when a thorn has been disturbed and  just watch the stuff come up.  Be aware of it.  Accept it.   And, then let it go.

This sounds easier said than done.

He tells us:

Just relax your heart, forgive, laugh, shift to gratefulness, do anything you want. Just don’t push it back down.  It’s gonna  probably hurt, but hopefully not for too long.  And then, it’s over.  You’ve let it pass through you.

This process happens over and over all the time.  The result is a constant open heart that allows the energy of love to flow .  You live in love, and it feeds and strengthens you.  This purification is a wonderful thing.

How do we start?

It starts the moment you accept what troubles you’ve been given.  Acceptance.  Not resistance to them.  It starts when we shift to gratitude rather than to dwell on the wrongness of a situation.  There is a secret treasure that lies waiting for us at the bottom of our most difficult times.  It starts when we recognize that everything that happens is not happening TO US.  It’s just happening.  It starts when we let go of the expectations of what we think our lives and others’ lives should go like.  It’s a journey of a lifetime.

Every shift in our life comes courtesy of the friendly forces; every catastrophe can hand us exactly what we need to awaken into who we really are.  It’s a lot easier to blame someone else, to rail against fate, or to shut down to the hopeful messages carried on the winds of change.  Please forgive me when I say that everything that happens to us in life is a blessing – whether it comes as a gift wrapped in happy times or as a heart break, a loss, or a tragedy.  It is true:  There is meaning hidden in the small changes of everyday life, and wisdom to found in the shards of your most broken moments.  At the end of a dark night of the soul is the beginning of a new life.  ~ Elizabeth Lesser

What are your Samskaras?  Can you let them go?

Or, are you going to hang on to them for dear life.

 

 

 

How Energy Clearing Saved Me

 depression        Depression is not a cut that needs a band-aid.  It’s a cancer that needs a battle plan.        ~ Ann Voskamp  

I’ve battled depression and all over body/joint pain most of my adult life. 

“Something is wrong with me,” was my constant mantra.  

I hadn’t suffered trauma, loss, cancer, divorce or abuse.  95% of the world prays for the life I have.  That alone made me more depressed about being depressed because it brought on guilt for even feeling the way I did.

I have not confessed to many people about my bouts of depression because sometimes people look at you like you have a mental illness and treat you differently.  There are enough “real” problems in the world to think and pray about, I certainly don’t want people worrying about me.  I also didn’t want to be sharing my story for a desperate need of attention or to give excuses for why I am the way I am.  I’ve only shared with those who have opened their hearts to me because it’s their story, too.   And, to my dear closest friends.

Doctors said I should be tired and exhausted, I had four children and a job.  Tests always looked good, so they’d prescribe me iron, or more potassium, or magnesium, or B vitamins. I’d leave, relieved I wasn’t dying, but never felt healed.

Over the last 15 years, I became a student of my own depressed experience. I analyzed every possible cause for to find the root of this despair. Thinking it was physical, I eliminated bad habits of caffeine, coffee, Diet Coke, alcohol and processed foods.  I did detoxes and cleanses, exercised regularly, got into nature, conquered addictions and reduced stress.  I buried myself in books to learn about my mind – maybe I was crazy and it really was in my mind.  I devoured Eckart Tolle, Byron Katie, Penny Pierce, Wayne Dyer, Deepok.  I learned all about my ego, consciousness and how we are our thoughts.  I did daily devotionals, prayed, vowing to become more spiritual – maybe it was God missing in my life.  I thought is was my work, perhaps I wasn’t being true to who I was.  So, I began to write, filled art journals, and painted.  Of course, I figured it was my marriage – my resentfulness perhaps is what’s taking its toll on me. I sought therapy and tried depression meds, only to find I was in Fog City.  St. John’s Wart, the same.  Perhaps, it was midlife changes, so I sought out self-help books on mid-life, menopause, had a hysterectomy, and did some serious soul searching.  

Then the world of energy came into light.  I was introduced to Reiki, by my niece, Micara Link, as a way to heal ourselves, so I took classes and learned about how we can heal with energy, focused on releasing blocked chakras and worked on my subconscious blocks buried deep from childhood.  She introduced me to clearing, but I guess I wasn’t ready to embrace it just yet.  She also affirmed my belief of being a highly sensitive person.   This, just a dent in my quest for an answer.

I made strides – big ones.  

But, I was not cured.  

The Big D kept coming back.  Always, it followed me around like lost puppy.

I then met Bridgette. Bridgette and I met in a Facebook group of friends brought together by Kelly Ray Robert’s online class, Flying Lessons.  Bridgette is a  women’s empowerment coach, who also does energy work, intuitive coaching and is psychic.   We conversed online, became companions at a writing retreat and I later, continued sessions with her over the  phone to receive guidance in reaching my goals and learning about my mind, body, heart and soul and how it all needs to align.  

I didn’t know then, that she would be the one that would unlock the door to my depression/pain quest.

The most powerful gift Bridgette taught me was about energy and how it affects us.  I knew some of this, but not to the depths I needed to know.  You think you know – but really, you don’t.

I learned that I am not just a highly sensitive person, but I am also an empath.  Google that.

As a HSP (highly sensitive person) and an empath (I know-sounds like a real head case, huh?), we absorb the energies of others whether we want to or not.  I was not only absorbing the energies of any person I was with at the time, I was also absorbing the energies in groups of people, in my surroundings, in meetings, in my entire world.   And, carrying it with me, until my body felt heavier, more in pain and more depressed.  (I remember learning this with Micara, but I think I was at the surface of just learning about energy then and did not take in more than basic understandings.) This explained my agitation and exhaustion after being at the mall, large group meetings and gatherings and even in my working environment of an elementary school of almost 900 people.

I needed help.  A game plan.  I could not quit my job.

Bridgette gave me tools and taught me two main practices to combat this problem:

1.  Energy Clearing to clear all energies from others that I absorb on a daily basis

2.  Creating a protection barrier around me to protect myself from the energy of others.

Bridgette did my first energy clearing for me, over the phone!  I was skeptical, but I did believe in energy and the law of attraction.   The next day, I felt 20 pounds lighter, had a skip in my step, my depression and pain lifted and I was me again.  I honestly FELT “cleared”.  A peace and lightness flowed through me.  It was a miracle.  

But, it didn’t last.  By the next week, I was back in my bed again, barely able to peel myself away from bed to get to the shower for work.

I called Bridgette.

She said I had to learn to do these clearings on my own, and on a regular basis if I was going to survive my job.  I found that I needed them twice a week, usually over the weekend to clear from the week and again by Wednesday.  I also learned to create a morning ritual for myself before going into my work that consisted of meditation that focused on creating an imaginary protective barrier around me so these energies could not penetrate through my own energy auras.  And also, a disconnection ritual at the end of my work day. Yes, it all sounds crazy in a Cosmo-Rica-woo-woo kind of way.

But, you know what? It worked.

And if something makes me feel better and chases away the pain and depression I suffer, I’m doing it.

You know how I know that it was mainly the energies of others that was causing my depression and pain?

It’s July 2nd today.  We’ve been out of school for one month already.  I have not had ONE day of depression or pain and have not had to do an energy clearing or protection meditation since school let out.  I’ve been home.  Mostly by myself or with my husband.

I have never felt better in my entire life.  I still abide by everything else I’ve learned to stay depression/fybromyalgia free and healthy.  And, I do not believe I would have learned a fraction of all I now understand about our body, mind, heart and soul had it not been for the relief I was seeking. The daily, conscious effort and monitoring of where I am at is a commitment.  But, if I want to be of service and help for others, it’s one I refuse to stray from.  

But now, I’m at a fork in the road  and my question is, “What now?”

We are never fully “healed” and more and more is revealed to us every day about who we are, and right now I feel a new knowing that there is something more that I feel called to do.  I’m not exactly sure what that is, but I do know part of my purpose is healing, helping and teaching others and I can do that through sharing my story and  the workings of our body, mind, heart and soul, along with how energy affects us.  

Since discovering these newfound paths of healing that work for me, God has guided others my way that need this. Synchronicities has compounded and I am blown away every day. I certainly didn’t think that I would be here sharing with the world my depression journey and teaching others about energy even two years ago.  God unfolds for us in a very mysterious way.  I just followed the bread crumbs. I’m not exactly sure where the next crumbs will be, but I do know it’s time for me to open up and share with others the understandings, tools, and practices that I’ve been taught to battle depression.

If I can even help one person, then I know I’m on the right path.

Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you – all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are.  ~ Rachel Naomi Remen, MD

Shari 🙂