Transformation

This photo of a peaceful pair of butterflies was taken by my husband, Bob Haine. The  background of a white flower gives a tranquil setting for the two, a respite from flight and a chance to refuel. Caterpillar days are over as they take their place in the sun.

CATERPILLAR DREAMS: BUTTERFLY REALITY

It has been awhile since I have posted anything. Not because I had nothing to say or no time to say it. I have been very busy, cleaning and downsizing our home of over thirty years for a big move.

Moving to our dream home near the beach in central California was not an easy move. But we have arrived, here and now.

I have not posted anything lately because, as the caterpillar might say, “When you’re in a chrysalis state you keep still, until you’re ready to emerge as the butterfly.”

I’ve spent the months after the new year preparing to grow wings. It has been my caterpillar stage.

Nobody delves much into what the caterpillar is thinking and feeling as it hangs in that fragile cocoon. We like pondering more on what the beautiful butterfly is feeling as it floats across the sky, manifesting those gorgeous wings.

However, the ugly caterpillar stage is the most critical part of the butterfly’s development. Without this nitty-gritty formation stage, the butterfly would not exist.

It takes time, a darkened time, to formulate the butterfly. Somehow, the caterpillar knows and accepts this.

It must be frightening, at some level, to leave the only world you know, to reconstruct the body you have had, to live on the precarious edge of a branch, yet have the quiet knowing that this is the proper sequence of things.

I admit that I did not have the natural intelligence of a caterpillar when I chose to pack up my former life, leave our longtime home and move to a totally different locale.

I did not realize that not only would the structure of my home change, but that I would not be the same creature after re-establishing myself somewhere else.

The metamorphosis from a caterpillar life to a butterfly life is not easy. During the preparatory times, there are lots of questions if one is a human caterpillar. Questions like:

When is my escrow going to close? I’ve sold my home; when am I going to find a new one? What do you mean when you say that I can’t get a loan on this property?

The list goes on and on…..

Finally, there is an ah-ha moment, a time of surrender. Like the caterpillar, it is not resignation as much as the sheer acceptance that there are bigger, more mysterious forces at work.

Go into the cocoon. Dream the beautiful dream. Let the feelings of discomfort, fear, even despair, pass through like a mist. The dew is settling on the bush, and one fine day the realtor will call and say, ” The perfect house for you just went on the market today.”

You know the minute you walk through the door that this is the home you’ve been  waiting for all your life. Much like the butterfly coming out into the light for the first time, you realize this house is not just a house. It is the repository of your feelings, the carrier of your dreams. In short, it is not just a house; it is your forever home.

My husband and I were fortunate enough to find such a home, our house of love and light. I have enjoyed the rebirth, making this place a structure with our unique imprint: the blue, white, and sand colors of the beach, the blend of my art and my husband’s photography, our shared music and instruments, my touches in the surrounding garden.

I have planted butterfly bushes and “save the bees” flowers. The hummingbirds, hawks,  and finches come for visits. On the ground, a line of quail stroll by in the morning.

The coyotes, spiders, and snails are welcome here, too. If you exclude the so-called negatives in the natural ecosystem, the system collapses. We all need a home in this interdependent world.

Has the transition from city life, to part-time mountain life, and now the rural bay life been smooth?

In a word: NO.

We human butterflies are beautiful and freed from many things. But the world outside our inner world is still throwing us curves. The wind currents and earthquakes are still slamming us:

Why do we need a cardiologist, a pulmonary expert, a nephrologist, an x-ray, a CAT scan? What do you mean we may not be covered by our insurance since we moved? What if, how can, must I…?

And the wise monarch butterfly that floats past me in the yard is whispering, “Let go. Just breathe.”

When I wake up and realize I am the spirit in my body more than the body is in my spirit, I will know my winged friend is right.

It may be hard to be a butterfly in a caterpillar world, but as more and more wings open to the light, this becomes a beautiful place to be.

I am so grateful to have my part in this world and to share  life in my new homeland with my wonderful friends and neighbors.

The photo shown here is a lovely spot on the Oregon coast called Arch Rock. My husband got the light shining with the perfect angle. We were slated to check into a motel miles away, but we lingered at the sunset  to enjoy the moment.

DROPPING DEADLINES : PICKING UP LIFELINES INSTEAD

I had planned to do this blog as soon as my three week road trip was over. After listening and feeling “mizzle” (misty drizzle) on my face in the rain forest of Washington, I dropped the need to meet deadlines. Especially since I was the one making the deadlines. In my experience, people do not die from deadlines, especially self-imposed ones.

Most timelines can be extended, negotiated, and if missed, it’s my guess that something ever better might be around the corner. I’ve never been much of a linear thinker. I tend to be circular. I find that opportunities come around, just like some cosmic merry-go-round. I can still catch the brass ring if I lean at the right time, the moment I choose.

I am more into lifelines these days. That’s not to say I’m on a sinking ship or fallen overboard. I am not looking for a life preserver in an emergency. I am finding more and more alternatives to what I thought were rules set in stone. Stones sink.  I’d rather aim for walking on water, or at the very least, learn a better way to meet the tide.

I made a promise to myself to practice those things that are life enhancing. Daily meditation and prayer, moderate exercise, healthy food, good music, and gardening: those are my lifelines. I like to share them with my husband because that increases the pleasure.

If I ignore these necessary pleasures, the red warning light goes off. It keeps blinking until I do something about what’s causing it.

Case in point…. Before I left on vacation, I had three whiplashes, two concussions, and was struck by electricity from a rogue appliance after an earthquake. One might argue that these were just coincidences . People do have car accidents, hit heads on cupboard doors and a blue streak of electricity can strike if something is faulty.

I got the message: I was the one who was faulty. It took me awhile to learn the lesson. SLOW DOWN OR YOU MIGHT BE DEAD. That’s a deadline I did not want to meet, so I changed my ways. I bowed out of some commitments, extended some time frames, found some recreational activities that I enjoyed. I even got my first degree certification in reiki to help heal myself and others.

At this juncture of my life, I have decided it’s time to fulfill a life-long dream: to have a home on the beach. I have visualized a one story house in a quiet fishing village on the central coast of California. My husband and I both love the area. Our city home is lovely, but it’s time to find something more natural, like our mountain home. We can have the best of both worlds.

I do not let finances or the process of moving deter me. Letting go of “stuff” we have accumulated here has been refreshing for me. The house is just a reflection of our inner life as well. My husband and I have been clearing out mental things that no longer serve us and replacing them with what we truly desire.

“Today is the tomorrow I dreamed of yesterday.” That is what I will say when I cross the threshold of our new dwelling. And we will know that we have come home.

Bob’s photo of the pelican captures the moment when the bird leaves Earth for some place higher. 

 

MAYA ANGELOU: THIS BIRD HAS FLOWN HOME 

When I read the news of Maya Angelou’s passing last week, I started to cry. Although I was sad, I hadn’t even cried at my own mother’s death. I began to analyze what touched me so much now. Was it words she might still have written? Was it the words she had left behind? Was it her grandmother-like embrace of the world that I felt was forever gone?

I reflected on my own maternal grandmother. There are no replacements for wise old grandmothers, at least not the ones that weave love into the discipline and disappointments that life gives them. My grandmother kept a family together during the challenges of the Great Depression, made my growing up more pleasant, and ignored her “terminal” cancer for almost forty years. Maya Angelou and my grandma, Ethel Lucille Potter, were two beyond-strong, super women.

The autobiography of Maya Angelou is beautifully expressed in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Her self-imposed silence lasting for years, following her childhood rape, was an unnecessary punishment for the murder of her violator. Silence in a social setting can be a slow form of suicide. It can also lead to an epiphany from the dark night of the soul.

Maya Angelou definitely had epiphanies throughout her difficult life. There were strong lessons of survival. But to transcend survival mode, a person needs to balance life’s blows with beauty and compassion to be found and fostered. She had a definite gift for that, which she willingly shared in her words and actions with others.

I said to a friend after Angelou’s death that the main reason I felt so sad was that there was a hole that no one could fill. My wise friend reminded me that there are many undiscovered or little known people like Maya Angelou all over the world. Perhaps they are even in their silent mode and are just waiting for the right time to speak.

I am hopeful my friend is correct. I like to think that our beloved grandmas leave a nest of words for our eggs … eggs that will hatch into fledglings, never to be in a cage, always to have something to sing.

 

 

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.