Hold Fast to Dreams . . . or not

Snow person with a big hat

I remember when I was in 10th grade we were assigned an English project to create a poetry book of our favorite poems.  I’ve never really been into poetry—but I like words and some words come together in a cool way.  This was one of the poems by Langston Hughes that I selected.

Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.

I’ve been wondering about long-held dreams lately. This past year my dreams have been pushed around a bit by fate and circumstances.  I was on a mission to complete unfinished books that were holing up in my computer.  I got the first four done when I had a terrible car accident that knocked the feet out from under me—literally.  I was also dreaming about turning my workshop, Life by Design into something much bigger.

But suddenly I was forced to reconsider some things.

These moments are always a choice point. When face with unexpected challenges, we can curl into ourselves and wonder, “Why me?” or we can push out and upward and wonder, “Why me, why now?”

That has been the source of my strange silence these many months. I’ve been caught in introspection and inquiry.

Since my early twenties I’ve worked so hard to dream big and see myself as both a published author and a person who can influence others on the world stage.  I’m a person of high ideas and ideals–and a serious student of both.

To tell you the truth, neither of my dreams have reached the heights I had aspired to. I’m not sure why. The best “excuse” I can think of is that I am, in truth, an introvert. I don’t like crowds. I don’t like self-promotion.I don’t like Twitter.

So, do I let those dreams die? And what will happen to that broken-winged bird who cannot fly?

Well, I’m learning a lot of new things about myself from contemplating these questions.

This past August, after a sad and frustrating summer of being unable to navigate in my usual non-stop, on the move gardening self, I did experience a time of depression.  Then (thank God) Milt heard about this medical device that stimulates circulation at the level of the capillary bed from his brother, John.  We tried it mid-August and by the end of the month, I sat in the garden.  We bought a “Bemer” in early September and by the middle of the month my feet had healed to the point where I could seriously go back to the garden.  I had a delightful time jerking the grass and weeds from my badly neglected gardens.

But then I realized something even more important. Not only were my feet getting better, but my thinking was clearer, and my energy felt fresh and new again.

And I just didn’t feel like jumping back into chasing my old goals (finishing old manuscripts and doing level one workshops) that seemed to not be growing into anything. Because Milt and I were both having such a good result from this device, we decided to work to build a business distributing the Bemer Therapy device.

Some cool things have been happening around this—and lots of new learning.  Here is the short list of what I’ve been learning the past four months.

  • There are a lot of people struggling to be well and have the energy they need for life.
  • It is easier for me to talk to people about a device that enhances life energy then it is to talk about one of my books or workshops.
  • Milt and I finally have a common project again instead of “his work” and “my work.” We like building together.
  • The company has a great plan to help distributors build a substantial income just sharing the technology with others so they can feel better. (As co-creators, we’ve never had substantial or even regular income.)
  • All those skills that I have been building to help others realize their goals and dreams, I can now plug right into using with my distributors so they can grow and expand.
  • And all the energy that I had to create a substantial business structure I can now plug into building this business. And finally,
  • No book, workshop, coach, counselor, therapist, constellation, or degree program is going to help me be more of who I want to be if I lack life’s most essential energy at the cellular level. Take care of the body first.
  • So, sometimes old dreams have to shrivel a bit just like the plants in my garden. They have a great season and then curl up and sink into the earth to make room for the life that is coming in the new season.

We shall see how this evolves for us.  For now I’m in the romance period of starting a new project with Milt telling people about an innovative new way to gain health and energy by laying on a mat two times a day for 8 minutes.  (Almost sounds too good to be true.)

I’m putting my workshops, writing, and other pursuits on a low back burner until I see how things unfold. I love that I am again reading, studying, learning, meeting new people, and working with them on creating new frames to move into. So, if you don’t hear from me again for six months—well, no worries. I am not a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.  I’m just flying in some new skies for a while.

I hope you are entering this New Year filled of your own dreams and enticing goals. Be totally in love with what you are doing and who you are doing it with. If you aren’t, let that garden go fallow and start a new one.

Life is so short—we can’t afford to waste any time.

PS—If you decide to Google Bemer Therapy, realize that there is another company out there that is doing bad business practice. Our company has issued a cease and desist on certain claims put out by IMRS. Contact me personally if you want to know more about it, and I’ll share some materials with you.

PPSS—My favorite creative outlet has been drawing crazy little snow people and putting them on face book. You can see them all on my FB page. And yes, you can still order some of my books and have a good read. Silver is my favorite of the four new books followed by One Drum, a close second. But don’t leave Sulee out of the mix either.  And of course, if you have never read Washaka The Bear Dreamer—well, that is simply a must read. You can order any of these books at www.manykites.com.  

A final PS.  We are heading to Rapid City next week with multiple events.  Get in touch if you want info on where and when.

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Today I Sat on the Earth


Jamie in the berry garden

Today I sat on the ground and pulled weeds from my vegetable garden.  It doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, but it has been four months since I sat on the earth. After the car accident that injured both feet, I have been limited in my day to day normal activities. It was a hard summer for me to not be able to sprawl out on the grass or sit in the dirt to pull weeds. I’ve had to hobble into the water to swim and hobble out again to get to my car.

I am an earth girl. Weeding is my therapy. Soil makes me happy.  Today felt like a breakthrough.

There are so many things we take for granted—sitting on the earth, the people we love, normal activity, energy to do and be.  If there was a lesson to be learned from this accident, it is this.  Never take simple, beautiful things for granted.

I wish I could express to you how it felt to sit in the dirt with the sun over my left shoulder and a breeze on my face.  I could feel fall in the air.  I could feel summer leaving us.  I felt my spirit rush back into my body in a way that I feared would never return.  That is what has been the worst—feeling like a part of my spirit was still sitting with a crashed car on Highway 2 wondering what had just happened.  I didn’t die (Thank God), but a part of me was still out there.

The Shamans and medicine people have long recognized that the spirit is not necessarily always with the body that it belongs to.  I remember when we were in Pine Ridge in a ceremony intended to call back the spirit of children who had been wounded in life. It was so amazing to sit in the dark and feel and hear all that I felt and heard.  And I remember reading this beautiful account of how the Carandera women healers of South America would take a woman who had been raped or abused and bury her in the earth.  For several days they would tend her carefully and lovingly while they let the earth pull the hurt out of her body and bring her spirit back.

It was a funny feeling to feel my spirit fly back into my body today while sitting on the earth.  I don’t think a human spirit has any age but perhaps is forever young.  That spirit that came back to me was a girl who loves (above all) the earth and the sun and the rain and the wind.  She definitely is an earth girl.  She is the one who writes the stories I love, she is the one who knows exactly how to love or work with a person who is hurting.  She is the one who delights in red tomatoes and dark, ripe berries.  She is the one who takes me to the water every day to swim.  She is the one.

At one point Milt came out to check on me while I was weeding.  Again I felt like a little girl with a feat to perform.  “Watch this,” I said as I put two palms flat on the ground and hoisted myself up into a standing position again.

Three months ago I tried that and nearly passed out from the blazing pain of trying to get upright again.

I don’t know a lot, but I know that Earth is our mother.  She has the power to heal.  She is beautiful.  And she smells so good.

P.S.  The picture is from 2 years ago, but is how I felt today.  And please, treasure life and those you love.  The time is now.


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The Day the ‘Shoulds’ Died


It has been exactly one month since I drove my car into the side of a pickup truck westbound on Highway 2 toward Bemidji.  After my world (as I know it) exploded, my first thought was that I was not dead and probably should or could be.  My second thought was to call Milt (after I grabbed a paper towel to hold against my bleeding forehead.  My third thought was that my life was going to be different than it had been just seconds before.

It was the worst accident of my life.  I had serious injuries to both feet and a thoracic compression fracture plus nine stitches to my forehead.  Nothing required casting or surgery or even an overnight stay in the hospital, but it hurt.

A lot of things came to an abrupt halt.  Suddenly walking from the couch to the sink was a major effort.  Sitting in a chair was painful.  I could only sustain writing or working on the computer for fifteen minutes.  Those of you who know me well, know that I am not a person who easily sits still.

But maybe hidden in that statement is the one good thing to come out of this accident.  Maybe I am learning to sit still, to rest, to reflect, to stop piling one thing onto another surrounded by a whole lot of shoulds.

It was not easy to give up on my do list.  I wanted to “should” on myself.  I really did.  One week in I hobbled out to the flower bed, sat on the ground, worked for five minutes, and then tried to get up.  Not good.

I had to cancel several presentations and a workshop, set aside my book a month project, and stare passively out the window at the massive amount of garden chores and mudding projects that I had been preparing to dive into.

I rested.  I slept.  I drank a lot of water.  It felt like everything in my life was suddenly being filtered through my inured feet instead of my too busy brain.  One month in, and I am just now beginning to sit for a full hour upright without being 100% conscious of only my pain.

But an event like this makes a person ask a lot of questions.  Why do I feel the need to do, do, do?  Where does it get me?  Who is behind the voice in my head that is constantly telling me what I should do?  And if I don’t do it ALL, who cares?  And maybe more importantly, are questions like what really matters to me?  What do I feel most passionate about?

In a strange way I like that I am being forced to take personal inventory and not just racing down a path of do, do, do until I drop.

I don’t yet know what the outcome will be.  I remember reading a story about a psychologist who had a client who didn’t know how to say no or put things down.  When she came in one day he walked around the room and kept picking up things and handing them to her—a tissue box, a figurine, a potted plant, a book, a pillow from the couch.  She just kept taking whatever he gave her until she couldn’t hold any more and began to drop items.

It is too easy to go through life and just keep picking up more and more to do and be without letting anything go.  I’ve been doing workshops since 1985.  I’ve sat in a room with thousands of people, listening to their requests,their hurts, their desired outcomes until once face blurs with another.  I’ve planted a garden every years since I had my first house in 1979.  I’ve written nearly twenty books.  And now we’ve built three straw bale structures that need my expert mudding attention:)

Is there a little voice in my head that says, “But what about me?”

Maybe it is time I sat in silence and stillness with her and listened to all she has to say.  I have no idea what that might mean, but I don’t want to dance to every single should (and could—it is just as demanding) that emerges out of my mind.  I want to be intentional.  Careful.  Generous and gentle with myself.

The only thing I am slowly beginning to get back to is finishing my books.  It felt good to re-engage my story self and set her loose upon the world again. And the only other things that matter to me are love and creativity, and I have those in great abundance around me.

I wonder if this blog will continue on as I re-emerge from my recovery.  We shall see.

Peace to all of you and take great care with yourself and those you love.  It is really all that matters.

And special thanks to my husband, Milt Lee, for taking such good care of me.  You and me were meant to be.

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