Empowerment

My photograph for this Christmas was taken last year in Idyllwild, California. The moon star lit up the sky so beautifully silhouetted by the tall trees. When it’s so dark that I can’t see the forest for the trees, it’s definitely time to look for light sources. I looked up and there was this bright burst. Photo credit to Kathleen Dana Haine.

THE WAYS OF THE WINTER SPIRIT: SURRENDERING TO THE STILLNESS

It’s Christmas time again, but this year is distinctly different for me. Although I had a lovely visit from my goddaughter and family last weekend. Christmas time itself and New Year’s Eve will be alone time this year.

Health challenges are rewarding me by staying home, though. It’s giving me time to pause and reflect on the meaning and purpose of life. To look at what things I choose to change and which things I desire to keep. While I love socializing and frivolity, it’s a necessary introspective time right now.

My Christmas wish was to be well enough to physically attend the children’s Christmas Eve mass at my local church. Singing harmony on all the beloved carols in the congregation brought tears to me eyes…happy ones. The angels are still singing in my home: Silent Night and a chorus of “Gloria in excelsis Deo.”

This week I had a visit with my alternative doctor who gave me good suggestions and some encouraging recommendations. One major recommendation to help me stay on the planet was: add sugar to the no-no list along with calcium and protein foods I have already given up. The addiction to the sweet stuff may light up the pleasure center of my brain, but it also amplifies inflammation, causing some very non-pleasurable effects.

Along with other physical homework, like massaging the scar area of my arm to get feeling back, I still require healing on the scars that don’t show.

Grief, loss and loneliness keep sneaking back into my veins. It’s harder to full-on heal when it’s cold inside as well as out. Internal snow seems more resistant to melting. However, there are many effective remedies for these recurring feelings. Sitting down by the hearth and having a fireside chat with each one is my favorite techniques.

Grief is the emotion that’s easiest to flip for me. Grief is really just love that’s blocked by loss and loneliness. I counteract it with a memory that could melt a blizzard in the dead of winter. I have MANY of those memories and basking in them brings back the feelings intensified over the original.

I also reframe memories that are not so easy or pleasant. I rewrite the past in my mind. Somehow it changes me in the present so I can accept a better future. The mental matrix is a hologram to program and reprogram. I am getting to be a master of tweaking the system to my advantage.

Sometimes even physical pain can be reversed. I feel my cells regenerate. Epigenetics switches on and then anything is possible. (See the works of Bruce Lipton for more understanding of that phenomenon.)

Alone time is now different for me than loneliness. When it’s accepted, surrendered to, then the stillness becomes the unseen friend, an access point to answers, a connection to God/Source/Creator. the gateway to possibilities we miss with our busy “monkey mind.” Even if nothing SEEMS to be happening, linear time has opened up to infinity where the possibility of miracles makes a template for the wonderment to unfold.

Sometimes I feel like meditation and prayer put me in an unlit room, but then a door opens and there’s a surprise party inside for me with all the loved ones and gifts I have ever dreamed of. When I meet them in real time the faces may have changed or details of the gifts. But it’s often even better than I imagined.

Whether I meet the gifts immediately, or in the future of divine timing, I am still grateful. The notes of the symphony are impressions before they reach the heart, the mind, the ear, the music sheet, the instruments, the stage. To negate their existence with self doubt or non-acceptance of their beginning invisibility would be a harsh destruction of a joyful outcome.

I hope your winter dreams yield a springtime harvest. I am already hearing angelic arpeggios for healing songs when the stillness turns to melodies I will write for my mandolin and me.

The porch of our family home in Idyllwild is the photograph for this blog. It was a place to sit contemplating big decisions and savoring moments of solitude. It lives in my memory now, a part of the collective of our life together.

I’ve been dancing through different stages with the kidney issue for some time now. Fourteen years on an inappropriate

prescription drug left me needing a kidney transplant back in 2008. Through a strong mix of motivation and miracle, I got up to

30% function and maintained a GFR (globular filtration rate, the measure of renal function) until 2016, after my husband and I

relocated to the central California coast.

While Bob developed a series of illnesses, I had my own health challenges including two failed dialysis surgeries in my left

arm. The three years of caregiving my husband through open heart surgery, Parkinsons and dementia yielded lessons in patience,

faith and unconditional love—for both of us.

After the passing of my soul partner in 2019. there were three more years of difficult decisions: the sale of our mountain home, the

reconstruction of the beach home, the strange times of Covid………..

Then came a time of soul searching the summer of 2022 while having informative flashbacks and moving through PTSD.

I had reached a crossroad on my birthday. I learned who and what I truly was— full disclosure on that later.

I had to be in a healing cocoon for a few months before I grew my wings back again.

This time the wings seemed to be made of stained glass on steel. But even steel breaks under pressure. There were many pressures.

I had become a spiritual diamond from hard core coal, yet there was a definite crack in the system. I was reminded of the poetical

message of Rumi and Leonard Cohen…The Crack is the way that the Light gets in.

Stage five symptoms have caused more than a few cracks. However, my path does not include another surgery which will lower

my kidney function with no promise of improving it. I do not choose “status quo” with a few more years of declining function with

a nightly artificial support system. ( I honor those who do choose it but I follow a divergent direction.)

I CHOOSE LIFE FULL ON.

The fear of death does not intimidate me. If it did, my near death experience in 1979 pretty much dissolved that. I share the belief

that the body is an amazing vehicle of the spirit with guidance from an extremely intelligent Source.

I may live alone, but I am not going through this alone. I have been assembling an impressive support team of alternative and

regular doctors, magnificent healers, intuitive therapists, and am receiving the compassionate assistance of the local Hospice of

San Luis Obispo and their wonderful counselors and volunteers.

I have informed my new friends at hospice that I am going to get well, surpassing the normal expectations and becoming the

vibrant being I was meant to be.

I have started up the blogging again for a two fold purpose: to keep an account of my journey to wellness and also to encourage

others to follow their true heart’s desire, to lead them to the joy of life however they picture that.

My picture is still not complete but I have put the pentimento of my scars on the paper and am adding colors daily to the design.

Before the rain yesterday, this is the vision Bob and I saw in the clouds. I see a woman blowing a horn if I look at the photo from far away. Others see a man looking right at the viewer. I wish we could show this as a vertical shot because the cloud  looked so spectacular hovering over the rooftops and trees.

LOVING MYSELF: I SING THE BODY PERFECTIC

I have recently been reflecting on the perfection of the body and how little love we tend to give it. It is our first and oldest friend. It is the final companion we will bid farewell. More than a garment that houses our spirit, it has a life of its own that depends on us to help shape it and protect it.

I am grateful that my body did not give up on me when there are so many times I have not been that kind to it. I am inordinately kind to others around me and sensitive to their needs. However, looking back, I have seldom given the love and respect to my own body that it so richly deserves.

Every body deserves love and respect. Every body is a gift from God, on loan to us for this lifetime. Having free will, we can choose to treat it however we want. Many religions tend to downplay the importance of the body for a variety of reasons. They talk about temptations of the flesh, but it is really the mind that makes the choices.

I choose to honor my body as much as I can, for as long as I can. That does not just mean giving it good food and taking it for a walk. A dog owner knows that this protocol will keep a dog in shape. If the dog is to thrive, then another ingredient must be added to the mix: LOVE. And in return, the dog is happy and glad to serve its master.

How many kind people would yell bad names at the dog for being “ugly”? Would they stop loving him if he got too fat? Would they quit loving him if he were in pain? Yet these same people (myself included) repeatedly think bad thoughts about their less-than-fabulous-Madison-Avenue bodies, and the aches and pains of aging.

It’s time to STOP… CHANGE THE COURSE OF OUR THOUGHTS.

Regardless of what has manifested in my body, I choose to love my faithful companion. The longest marriage of flesh and spirit in my life deserves my affectionate attention. The body communicates with me, sometimes in ways I don’t particularly like, and I have the option of a loving response.

When I was put on the kidney transplant list, I did not blame my body. I tried not to blame anything. I realized that prayer work, positive thinking, and some unusual measures could help what appeared to be a desperate situation. My mother suggested a solution. She said to sing to my kidneys and visualize them up to 25% function and loving to work with me.

It seemed like a weird idea, but both my mother and I are oddballs, so I started to make a simple, happy song for them. When I reached 25% function and up to 30% function, I was not surprised. My kidneys knew I loved them enough to sing for them and they returned the favor.

Yes, the body does have an intelligence. And more importantly, I believe the body (right down to the cells) responds to the healing power of love.

Now, I just need to get over prejudices that keep me from helping the rest of the body to heal. Since I am a singer/songwriter, my idea is to write songs, love songs, for other areas that would benefit from improvement. Actually, what would be even more effective and less time-consuming would be to write one epic song: “I Sing The Body Perfectic,” and sing that on a daily basis. I love Walt Whitman’s poem on the same idea, but adding music would make the feeling more energetic.

As for what constitutes perfection…I cannot say what that means for everyone. I only know what it means for me. I can choose to have love for my body-buddy regardless of what the doctors say or what others think. I am the only one who has to live in it and I will program my thoughts and feelings accordingly. I take direction from God, my insights and angels, and those that love me regardless of my body’s condition.

And I can choose what constitutes my perfection on a daily basis as long as my eyes and heart are focused on love.

As a postscript, I might add that I met the love of my life 38 years ago today. We are working on recording more songs for our fourth bobandkathi CD today, and then we plan to CELEBRATE.

This picture of an archway in the Alabama Hills of California was taken by my husband on a recent photo expedition. It suits this particular blog because it is a natural bridge. I see “no” as a bridge leading to “yes,” when the proper intention is applied. Although the arch is stone, it seems softer in the early morning light.      

NO: IT’S THE NEW “YES”

In spite of what Webster’s Dictionary has to say, I don’t view “no” as a negative answer when the question or situation does not have a positive energy. I have been a people-pleaser most of my life. My therapist told me that this behavior is typical for childhood abuse victims. I have volunteered (and been volunteered) for thankless jobs that no one else wanted, agreed to do time-consuming projects for others at the expense of my own time, and have even considered suicide on more than one occasion when one simple word would have saved me: NO.

I am a changed woman now. I still maintain a compassionate heart, with one strong addition; my compassion now also extends to me. It is not healthy to hangout with energy vampires or people who have no intention of helping themselves. Being an enabler does nothing to help either party, if either person is not making independent choices and accepting the consequences of them.

I have also had to learn to say no to myself, the ego part of me that would love having a piece of chocolate cake, skipping yoga or a walk, watching reruns of Murder, She Wrote instead of meditating. Sandy, a dear friend, said it best: “Never give up your power to food, another person, or any idea.”

I do believe in surrendering to God, because that is saying no to the part of myself I would like to cast off in favor of something greater. Some of my best friends are angels, which I will blog about at a later date. When I listen to their advice, I find I don’t have to say no as much to others or myself.

It’s hard to make a Heaven on Earth if I don’t feel it myself. I like to grow my own “Garden of Eden” and invite others to join me. (I even wrote a song about it.) I can accept some unpopularity with popularity, because this is a dualistic world. I also allow others to say “no, not interested in joining at this time.”

Recently I found that I was overbooked for my life. I had too many writing contests to enter, too many singing engagements to do, and too many events to attend. Instead of losing control, I took charge and made some choices. I chose which contests I really wanted to win, what gatherings I felt happy to join, and I left the rest for another day. I even postponed my blog for a couple days. There rarely is a “one and only” time to do something, and seldom a “one and only” person to meet. That is a grace I am grateful for in life.

This week, I also learned that when doors say no to me, I have options. Do I have the right key for the door, or do I need to learn something more? If it’s an unfriendly keyhole, can I find another like-minded door that is already open? Even if I have a handful of keys, how do I know what doors they unlock? Are they doors I wish to enter?

Closing some doors may also be necessary to get to the vista I wish to see, the person I wish to become. Sometimes saying no is saying “go” to the person, the situation, the plan that is not working anymore. While this can be a step into the  unknown, it is the only way I know of to get to the new “yes” for me.

 

 

 


This photo of Bob’s is one of my favorites, because I love the green hills with the backdrop of the California coastline. My mother, who is the topic of this week’s blog, dearly loved greenery. She never got used to the fact that she lived in Southern California, not wet Washington. Tacoma was always in her heart, if not under her feet.

 

HELLO, IT’S ME: GOOD THINGS ALWAYS HAPPEN WHEN IT RAINS

 

Last Monday was Memorial Day. I did the usual honoring of the all the male members of my family who served in the wars. I also thought a lot about my mother, her private battles. She never got much recognition for the heroic efforts on her part to raise two children as a single mother after three marriages. She was already battle-scarred and wasn’t emotionally or economically prepared to raise my older brother and me on her own. Fortunately, her parents let us move into their home. I was six at the time.

The house had lots of idiosyncrasies. The electricity worked in strange ways. The plumbing had its own style and rhythm. I am sure the attic was haunted, if not by spirits, then by old dusty memories. I didn’t care. It was home. It was a relatively safe place to live. My mother must have thought so, too. She died in that house, in her favorite chair, during the early morning hours of October 2006.

Mom had lived in a few other places in Monrovia, but she came back home to take care of Grandpa when he was ill. She moved back in permanently to help Grandma, until my grandmother passed away at the age of 92. I would call Mom every day, several times a day. The conversation always began the same way: “Hello, it’s me.” It was a comfort for me to be able to say that without her ever wondering who “me” was. Her mind remained sharp until the day she died, a major blessing these days.

My mom was a lady (she liked that word) of contradictions. She always wore a dress, but deserved the name “mechanical mama” for times when she would try to fix things herself. I remember her crawling under the car on a desert road, banging away trying to fix “vapor lock”. I still don’t even know what that is. She was churchgoing, but believed in ideas that were definitely not mainstream.

She liked to tell me about the happiest time in her life, when she lived in a tent by a stream in a Washington forest. She was a little girl then during the Great Depression. Grandpa would fish every day. Sometimes, they ate fish for every meal. Nobody complained and Grandma would add something to change the flavors. Mom told me the best part was playing in the forest with the fairies. I think it was a great disappointment to her that I never saw them. My life is not over yet, and I still keep an open eye and mind.

Unlike others who live in Southern California, I am happiest when it is a gray day and raining. I inherited that from my mother. One of Mom’s favorite sayings was, “Good things always happen when it rains.” We walked for miles in the rain when I was young. I miss that. I could still do it, but I think about the mess of getting wet. I need to revive the part of me that could care less about being muddy. Mud washes off. The joys of rambling in the rain linger in the mind. Those joys are the “good things.”

 

 

 

The peaceful picture at the top of my blog was taken by the love of my life, Bob Haine. He shot it in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park last March while I was attending a Hay House convention where Doreen Virtue was the keynote speaker. The photo is a beautiful lead-in to my first public writing of my very private life. The green of the old oak and the green of the stream present the balance I look for in life. That is the theme of this blog.


FINDING BALANCE: SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO LET GO TO KNOW IT’S ALREADY GONE

I did something rather amazing this week. I changed my name. No, I did not make up a new one, or create a pen name, or even change my name that much. I decided to go back to using the name that I was born with: Kathleen. Not Kathy or Kathi, the names I had picked up along the way. But my real name, the name I was meant to be.

Why do this, one might ask? Simple. I realized why I had changed the name in the first place. It was an unconscious attempt to get rid of my past. Many people have a past they would like to forget. My mind was very accommodating in that regard. Except for a few, limited memories, I had pretty much forgotten the scenes of my childhood. This week, however, I started to remember. More importantly, I learned how to put it in its place, pick up the pieces, integrate it, dump out the garbage, and claim the parts that I still loved. Nothing was wasted in the experience.

I have two reasons for sharing this in text. I find it cathartic for me. But I think my main motivation is to help others who may have had similar situations in their life, or are going through it now, or who are really earnest about getting empowered to be the person that they were meant (and CHOOSE) to be. I realize that I am mainly writing for women, because my experience is from the female point of view. Yet, I speak to the needs of everyone, because giving and accepting love, being peaceful, having boundaries, and knowing we are powerful beings who are never alone, are things we all need.

If anyone is offended by what I have to write, let it roll off their backs like the rain and water someone else’s garden. The people who would be most upset or embarrassed by my words are dead and buried. I wish them nothing but love. Forgiveness costs nothing but the peace of mind is priceless.

I was given a “rose” of a life. Roses have thorns. One just needs to learn how to cultivate a rose while avoiding getting stuck. And every true gardener knows the oldest, thorniest roses have the very best fragrance.

Back to my title…finding balance. To live life completely NOW I have decided to put the past away, keep the lessons and love I got from it. I plan to restore harmony to my life in my way of seeing things, doing things, and being however I choose to be. I know that accepting who I am now is the first step toward becoming who I want to be. Others will benefit by the ripple effect of this change. Even if everyone else doesn’t notice I am different, I will know it. The inside relationship is what really matters.

Yesterday evening, I did a little ritual to finalize my departure from a previous life and entry into a new one. I burned some old photographs in a pretty abalone shell, I buried the ashes in the dirt, I said a few prayers, took a warm, salt bubble bath, and had peaceful dreams all night.

This is not a journey that ends here. Perhaps you would like to take it with me. I invite you to do so. I will be writing every week in the coming year. My birthday is next week. Writing is the present I give to myself. I will be sixty-two, a senior citizen. As far as I am concerned, I was just reborn and I am very, very young at heart.