"The flow of creativity feels like an avalanche of joy and wonder. Being open to that possibility creates connections with everything." - Feline Dreamers

Monday, January 30, 2012

My Heart Bursts Open

Back in the fall, I had a great session with a good friend who is also an astrologer. In fact, it was my birthday present from him. He gave me a personal forecast for the coming year, and in the process he listed several dates when the energies of each transit or conjunction would "peak."

This past week, I was looking through my notebook for something and I came across my notes from the session. The first "peak" for this calendar year was January 20th - which is the day when baby Ember was born! And it certainly was a powerful experience, being present for her entry into this world.

When Ember's Mom asked me to be with her during labor and delivery, she said "I'd like to have your calm, positive energy in the room." I was so very touched and honored, and of course agreed to help my friend. I'd never been a birth coach before, and since the process started sooner than her due date, I didn't have as much time to prepare as I would have liked. At times during the labor, I doubted whether I was helping much. I didn't really know what to say to encourage her. So I focused on things like bringing her juice and breathing and holding the space. I did what I could physically, which didn't seem like much, but I also focused on being present for her and the baby. I did a lot of energy work and, in retrospect, sort of a projecting of my own centeredness, though I wouldn't have known how to describe it at the time.

After the birth, my friend and her midwife both complimented me on the aid I provided. They felt my calm presence really helped with the whole birth process. Apparently my practice of presence and mindfulness helps others besides just me - quite a revelation!

This past week, the homeschooling co-op I'm a part of was having a big meeting. The group just started in the fall, and there have been some recent growing pains as we figure out how to effectively run things with over 60 families. There was some heated discussion over e-mail, and it was stated that everyone should come to the meeting and get involved. Up until now I've been teaching and helping out in practical ways (like cleaning, helping with a special event we had, donating food for a food drive, etc). I felt reluctant to enter the world of meetings and conflict and committees, but I felt it was important to attend and be a part of it. I went to the meeting reluctantly.

While I was in the meeting, though, I realized what my role was in this setting. Again, being a calm, positive presence was something I could contribute to this group, whether or not it was acknowledged as such. I left the meeting feeling inspired and called to get involved. Yes, I'll be meeting with a committee and taking notes and offering ideas, but I'll also be bringing to bear my own connection with the eternal, as best I can in each moment.

While I was trying to describe my realizations to my family, Ocean said "well, it makes sense, you always pick up on other people's emotions, why not use it to share yours?" Quester added, "oh, kind of like a reverse empath." That's it exactly! Now that I know how to center myself and be present even in a sea of feelings, I can then reverse the flow and radiate those peaceful energies.

It's not that I'm always perfect at being a shielded, centered empath. I'm still practicing that, and I've only just begun to work with this new way of using my energies, or perhaps it's a new awareness of something I've been doing unconsciously. I'm not even sure my current description of it will make much sense to anyone besides me (not that it has to, but I like to share).

This weekend, I woke up with some back pain centered between my shoulder blades. Right in the back of my heart chakra. Just where my faerie wings are attached. I was trying to figure out what was up with it, and Quester said "it's okay, it's just that your heart is opening up more." In a rush, the connection was made - opening up, emanating love and peace, being myself and sharing my gifts (even the intangible ones), with my community and the world. My heart is bursting open once again. I'm expanding. I'm excited to see where it takes me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

January Thus Far

Here's a photo essay on how our January has been thus far. It's been trucking along pretty well.

ElvenTiger officially became a teenager! She and her best friend and I all spent the day together, doing girly stuff. Then we had a family dessert gathering, with gifts, of course.

We had a yummy lunch, and a bit of dessert afterwards.

Though it left us feeling a bit full...

But then we walked around the mall, got our nails done, and the girls updated their wardrobes a bit.

Merlin is doing great. He's been going outside again, and he still loves getting Reiki from us.

Percy is his usual happy self.

Quester has been working a lot, and helping with some projects around the homestead. Dryst is enjoying learning how to create music on the computer. ElvenTiger and I have been doing a lot of reading, together and separately. She got a Kindle Touch from Grampa and Grammy for her birthday! BlackLion has been baking his delicious bread every week.

I even made myself a meal out of it, one night.

We've been doing laundry.

The days are getting longer, so there's more sunlight...

...but we're still feeling kind of loungy sometimes...

Last but certainly not least, I helped a friend as Birth Priestess while she had her lovely daughter. I made a new friend! She's called Ember Caroline - isn't that the prettiest name you've ever heard? She's so lovely.

Life is good, and I am so very thankful for all its blessings.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cake of the Month: December (and Series Wrap-Up!)

Well, hello there! I thought I'd finally wrap up the Cake of the Month series by sharing pictures of December's cake. Also, I have a confession to make: I didn't do a November cake. I was in the middle of my sugar fast, there were no family birthdays, and so I just skipped it. I do have a bonus cake, though, which ElvenTiger and I made this month - see below for the pictures.

December's cake was a spice cake with mint frosting, made in a tree-shaped cake pan that Aunt Peg gave me. I made it for our Christmas Eve gathering at Mom's, but since that meal never really happened (because Aunt Peg fell and broke her leg that afternoon), we munched on it over Christmas week. It was pretty tasty, and I was pleased with the way it looked. I'd make it again.

We got the candy cane sprinkles at a local country store that has tons of baking stuff, along with natural and bulk food items.

ElvenTiger has decided she doesn't really care for cake. Maybe she had too much this year - oops! Anyway, for her January 14th birthday, she had chocolate cream pie made by my Mom. But for her birthday party with the homeschool group, which she shares with a friend who is also a Capricorn, we made a double-chocolate layer cake. ElvenTiger helped me decorate it.

AB isn't the cake's blood type. It's the initials of the two birthday girls (ElvenTiger is her screen name, folks). It was delicious! And that's the end of my Cake of the Month project. I'd say it was a rousing success!

I enjoyed the accountability of posting here every month to share my results. I decided that, rather than do cakes again, this year's project will be Craft of the Month. It will include collages, vision boards, knitting projects, and whatever else comes along. ElvenTiger and I will be learning needle felting and paper quilling, so perhaps some of our attempts will result in projects to share, too. Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Contemplation and Preparation

Mother Nature has delivered us a lovely snowy day, after a few weeks of winter without any of the white stuff. ElvenTiger is happy and excited - her 13th birthday is Saturday, and she wanted to have snow on the ground by then. I'm glad that our out-and-about plans for today were canceled, and I can settle in for some more contemplation and preparation.

Winter is a time for slowing down, for hibernating a bit and letting my dreams and goals for the year begin to percolate underneath the surface. I've been slowly working through my plan for the new cycle. I'm still on the first couple of steps - I soon realized that when you write three pages each day, that's a lot more material to read through! But I'm finding lots of gems - wisdom and insights I've gleaned over the past year, and sparkly ideas that I want to pursue during this one. I'll share once I have them in a more organized form.

We've also been preparing for ElvenTiger's birthday weekend. We're in the process of deep-cleaning and reorganizing her room. She put aside a bunch of clothes that she's outgrown, to give away and/or re-make into something new. We untangled and organized a bunch of yarn. Her best friend is coming over to spend the weekend with us, and we're going to do a girls' day out on Saturday.

We'd made the decision to have her friend over, and go out to lunch and then get their nails done and explore the mall. I asked her if there was another friend she'd like to include, and she touched my heart by saying, "well, I'd really like *you* to hang out with us." So, for the first time ever, I'm getting a manicure. These two girls are a joy to hang out with, and I'm looking forward to our girl time. We'll have a family party with dessert (chocolate cream pie, at her request) and gifts in the evening, and ElvenTiger will also celebrate with other friends next week at homeschool group.

In the meantime, I'm finishing up with my perusal of old journals, working on some research and writing for Feline Dreamers, and doing our taxes. BlackLion and the kids are out snow-blowing and shoveling, while the cats and I keep our paws dry inside. Merlin is doing well and lately he's been enjoying sitting on my lap while I give him Reiki. Sweet feline!

Friday, January 06, 2012

A Merlin Cat Update

Merlin got his wire removed from his jaw today. They had to give him anesthesia for the procedure, and he wasn't too happy about being at the vet again. When we dropped him off this morning, he was meowing and growling. I felt bad about leaving him there, but knew it had to be done.

They told us to call at 2pm and they'd let us know when he could come home. I got a call from the vet's office at 1:45pm, with the tech saying diplomatically, "Merlin would love to come home now. You can pick him up anytime." He'd been out in the back room crying and mewing! We zoomed over and got him right away - luckily we only live less than two miles from the vet's office!

They gave him a good report. His jaw is stable and his pelvis is healing just fine. They told us he could start going outdoors again after one more week, as long as he seems to be moving around normally (and he has been thus far). I'm so glad!

This evening he's been sort of loopy from the drugs wearing off. But also very loving, and so glad to be home again. I love him so much! Now he's mostly feeling sleepy. His brother Percy seems to be glad he's back home, too.

Thanks to everyone who sent prayers, good thoughts, and healing energies to Merlin! It worked!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Starcat's Ten Best Books of 2011

As promised on this week's episode of the PawedCats Podcast, here is my list of the ten best books I read in 2011. These are my favorites out of the 51 books I read last year. Please note, these aren't necessarily books that came out in 2011, just my favorites of the ones I read. They are listed in no particular order. If you'd like more information, check out the podcast!

Shadowheart: Volume Four of Shadowmarch by Tad Williams

Active Dreaming: Journeying Beyond Self-Limitation to a Life of Wild Freedom by Robert Moss

The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology by Jack Kornfield

My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud'Homme

The Pleiadian Agenda: A New Cosmology for the Age of Light by Barbara Hand Clow

Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture by Shannon Hayes

The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education by Grace Llewellyn

Another Green World by Richard Grant

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver

Monday, January 02, 2012

My Word of the Year: Connect

After an inspiration followed by some contemplation, my Word of the Year has announced itself to me. So I thought I'd announce it to you: blog readers, meet CONNECT. I love how it resonates on a lot of levels. I think that the core of my spiritual practice is connection with my divine source. Everything else flows from that.

That's the essence of what I mean by CONNECT, but it also includes connection with my family and friends, with community, and with nature. It encompasses the connections I want to make with new readers and clients this year, to further follow the path of my calling. It is the timeless connection of my soul with the Universe, but also the many daily connections with all the beings around me, cats and humans and trees and books and pixels and dogs and clouds and dreams and the Goddess...and oh so much more!

Happy New Year!