On the Number 4 & the Idea of Budding

Yesterday, I appeared on a local lifestyle tv show, Show Me Saint Louis, to share a vision casting exercise for your emotional well being. It was a little bit round about how the segment came to life, and – on my drive downtown to the station – I found myself reflecting perhaps there is just one person who needs the message I had to give. Just one.

Earlier this week, I got an email from Chloe, the manager of Apple Tree Magic’s self-publishing project, with some pictures of Words that Rhyme & Lullabies on the shelf in their store. Part of the contract I am in with Village Book’s Independent Publishing Program involves consignment and I have been really looking forward to this baby step in the overall coming together of my personal canon. Additionally this week, the distributors finally got the image updated and my initial creative offering to the world is now officially on Amazon and Barnes & Noble for purchase & reviews.

One person who needs the message. One bookstore with the book. No reviews yet, but it is there.

Driving home from the station, it dawned upon me that Apple Tree Magic: the current iteration of my creative, emotional and spiritual life presented to the world – had just peeked into the world and showed a leaf. My friend Milta remarked, “it is like Apple Tree Magic is starting to bud – it’s not the full fruit yet, but the seed that has been planted has taken root and is branching out.”

In the spiritual science of numerology (stick with me here), the energetic understanding or model of the numbers actually follows the pattern of nature as seen in the growth of a fruit tree. 1: seed, 2: root, 3: branch, 4: bud, 5: flower / fruit, 6: the miracle of interaction with flower & fruit (think: honeycombs and you eating an apple), 7: the growth / progress of said miracle of interacting with flower & fruit, 8: the flow that comes (still studying this one), 9: the culmination – the seeds in the fruit that can be planted, 10: 1+0 back to 1 and the cycle of nature repeats.

Apple Tree Magic started as the name of my personal effort to self-publish all of my creative content. I wanted to be an Apple Tree when I was young and now I realized poems and stories were my apples. Yet, then the devotional book wasn’t a book – it was a message, an ongoing living breathing message that is coming out in waves, workshops and television segments. And the message is the foundation of my yoga offerings. AppleTreeMagic.com evolved into the home of Yoga Underground, my original LLC and is showing very early signs of also being experiences and events as my network grows and I meet with creatives in the Webster Arts and Saint Louis community.

Milta’s comment of budding feels so absolutely true. The full fruit and function, the ongoing flow of the exchange & miracle, that is not in full flight. Yet, the simple root that came from the seed of “emotional & spiritual resourcefulness” has a sleek, slender branch that has Village Books (Fairhaven, WA), Urban Breath Yoga (Maplewood, MO), Joy of Yoga (Rock Hill, MO), Show Me Saint Louis (Saint Louis, MO), and Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Ingramspark… It’s a young branch but, doesn’t it seem quite mighty??

And the Webster Arts Community and Novel Neighbor branch – I can see it as new! I know my next projects, I am SO excited about what is coming and – well – I suppose I am quite fascinated by how when you are starting something, and rooting down, it’s dark and seems uneventful. That’s certainly how the last two years of creating and soft launching two written works has felt.

But now that I have a branch with a few buds and an emerging second branch, it’s not that I am not still rooting as the roots continue to expand and grow as I continue to branch out and bud… hopefully bearing fruit. What I am marveling at, however, is how rooting isn’t the only thing I am doing anymore. It’s happening but now as a silent underlying function of the magic. It’s happening in the prayer & meditation and the intentional alignment to values (use emotions as resources) and priorities (gratitude to something bigger than you first, always).

It’s a seek out the sun, dance in the rain kind of thing. So maybe – to spin this back to you – what are you conscious of in your waking life and how is it feeding your roots? And, here’s where the whole point of sharing about the number pattern comes in. 4 (budding) is symbolic of a square (4 corners) and presents this idea of how, in the discernment process, you typically have Choice A and Choice B and each of those typically have one main pro and one main con. (4 all together) And the idea with 4 is that you can’t be wrong when choosing in alignment with your values. 4 is full trust that choosing in alignment with the values, even if you stumble, will teach you what you need to know.

And the choice represents what kind of tree you are, the leaf denotes the lineage, (just like how you can identify plant species from their leaves and early markings). The choice, like the leaves & markings, presents you into the world not as the full fruit and opportunity for exchange BUT as the living breathing representation of the values & priorities. From there, you see, you and the elements meet and nurture your growth.

I get a lot out of considering different parts of my life in this particular model of thinking. Maybe that was enjoyable for you, as well.

Ok! Thanks for letting me share on the buds this week. Thank you, as always for your support. If you don’t mind doing the whole liking my Facebook thing, I would love it.

PS: I am considering the stepmom dialogue is going to end up in a group under Apple Tree Magic. If you’re on FB (ahem, UK friends), find me!

Here’s Apple Tree Magic’s on air debut!

On the Spiritual Practice of Step Parenthood

Looking around my life this morning: kitchen cleaned up by husband whose towering veggie sandwich made par moi awaits him, two gorgeous dogs mildly whining for the backyard and who will get 42 acres of forest in two weeks, soccer on the Google, salmon and lox as my breakfast… the sun is out, the day feels fresh, I feel different.

I think it is important to understand the concept of letting new things, like mornings and years, be new.

In my yoga classes, I often cue to let the pose or the breath or the twist or the practice “be as meaningful as you need it to be”.

A major part of “drawing energy up” is believing you are drawing energy up.

A major part of “letting go” is allowing yourself to let go of the need to identify what to let go of and instead, let go.

Breathe in, let no words in, hover in the moment, exhale. Look around. Do it again.

I have been going back and forth for awhile on writing more candidly on Frozen Spaghetti, my personal blog, on some of the growth I have undergone related to step-parenting. In the past, a major part of my growth related to my divorce in 2011 and my unfolding as a young mother of two little girls was writing. I would feel something, open a blog post, find it – let it ramble, (attempt to) button it up and get on with it.

But, you know, a major part of writing as part of the growth process is sharing what you are learning about yourself.

In the wake of divorce and in the vitality of young motherhood – I was sharing what I learned about my own sturdiness, abilities and resourcefulness.

And though the theme of resourcefulness remains huge, sharing on the growth process relative to step parenthood requires sharing what I have learned about my inner cry baby and what I know from childhood on how to manipulate to get the attention of somebody whose attention other people also want… those other people being actual children. Hence, very quickly one can digress.

Being a step parent in the way I have chosen to take on the role (honestly, humbly and messily) has meant stepping into a vat of emotional pain from my early days of cry babyhood and competing for parental love and attention as the middle child of five kids.

Said another way, I have been in a state of active healing healing healing over the past two years since my life changed as a pandemic bride.

But now, it’s a new year. And like I mentioned early on – the day feels fresh and I feel different. Things have become steady. I have found ease.

See, I have been missing Frozen Spaghetti for the writing process but I know the growth process I am in does not need writing like what benefited the evolution of my 2011 mental game or learning to be a mother.

Growth in step parenthood, rather, has required mid-morning showers when everybody has gone off to school, early bedtimes and lots of sleep, good lotion, walks, breathing, and feeling like myself: a super creative yoga chick who sings and writes songs and has good bangs that landed the dad to begin with…

And because I have allowed the healing (it’s been messy), I feel like maybe I can more easily write on what I have learned from becoming a stepmom bc – most importantly – it has helped me as a friend, a sister, a wife, a yoga teacher, a writer, a “mom mom” and as an individual.

It is my belief, any tendencies of co-dependency you have will be evident in your challenges as a step parent.

It is my supporting belief overcoming co-dependency requires a self trust provided only by a foundation of knowledge and understanding, the gift of wisdom / intuitive voice.

And it is my unwavering belief uncovering such knowledge, understanding and openness to wisdom (as required to overcome codependent impulses to explain, defend, advise or justify incessantly) is a spiritual practice.

As such, unless your spirituality is truly pure and non prescriptive, unless your version of God embraces the full idea of being made in God’s image making you both the wrath & redemption or unless your version of Christianity recognizes Jesus’ Buddhist yogi tendencies; your spiritual life needs to shift. Your spirituality must usher you into an understanding of how your beliefs are the root of your suffering, how relationships work as mirrors and how the power of your own breath, the sanctity of your own mind body connection, the priority of your own physical self care (and acceptance, ladies) are what actually helps you step into alignment with your life.

And, with that, you can see how my process of using these spiritual and emotional resources in becoming a happy step mom (NOT that it is easy!!!!!) leaks out and creates happiness and purpose in all of these other roles in life. You can see how it creeps into my yoga teaching. And, if you read my books, you’ll even see a constant commitment to creating a safe “either way” situation. My creative work seeks truth and allows interpretation where all truth is God’s truth. If it doesn’t feel safe and life-giving, I don’t publish it.

My point: becoming a step parent has by far challenged me more than any other role assigned to me in this life and, for that reason, I believe it is responsible for evolving me as a woman across the board. So, I might as well write more about it because, if you have a step child – you have a doorway, a portal and outlet to become the next amazing version of you. And, if you don’t, the principles will still apply.

That is the Frozen Spaghetti way… it’s what makes it Apple Tree Magic.

Ok. Bye for now,

Little Red Zen.

On Being Creative

When I close my eyes and consider my life, the forty years I have been alive, I can feel and recognize the deepest parts of me that have always been there.

Writing poetry as a kid in a notebook with “DO NOT READ” on the front cover, hoping one of my siblings or parents would be like, “ohhhhh… what is this top secret notebook?” and peer into my world, consider my genius and applaud my poetic prowess on beaches, summer and band concerts. This tendency is self-publishing work now, directly asking people to read. Trusting the work.

My whole growing up, I have always been ok speaking in front of people, willing to volunteer yet perhaps a little too eccentric for teachers and operetta leaders to trust with main roles: a little too energetic for them to trust I would listen.

Plus, I have always been a visionary – leaders putting me in leadership roles inherently came with a prerequisite of a willingness to be open to ideas, perhaps even challenged by innovation.

Not that I’m obstinate. If I feel remotely responsible for people’s experiences, I think about the future. I want the coolest way. Raised by a resourceful person, cool futuristic thinking builds on what is as old as time, is influenced by wisdom, it’s rooted in love.

Love.

This weekend, I am teaching a workshop on the heart’s connection to divinity which I have studied to be primarily recognizable via sensations of love, peace and joy. The workshop intends to ground these three sensations into the body, into the home, into a present acceptance that allows a person to live, move, breathe with relative ease. Or at least remember ease is a thing when things are hard, thus (hopefully) – making it easier.

Part of preparing for this workshop means coming to terms with what disrupts my own sense of rootedness when it comes to the deepest parts of me that have always been there. I think it is important to know what you have always liked about yourself. What you think you’re good at. I have met people before with wildly low self esteem yet they make amazing loaves of bread, craft intricate crocheted items, read super fast and apply loads of intellectual content. I always wonder if they know these things to be clues, keys, into esteem. Into who they are. Into roots.

What if the practice of rooting and trusting who you are wasn’t about identifying what to establish and growing roots but about closing your eyes and visualizing your full root system: deep, healthy, thriving? What if a practice of allowing ourselves our full self gave us the foundation from which to operate? Operetta cuts and sitting in the back of the class and all?

One of the things I hope for my teaching – special workshops, regular yoga classes, writings, spiritual direction – is the same thing I hope for myself in my own life: that the whole self is allowed. That I assume access to all of my might, all of the time.

I’m reading this year’s story, A Christmas Tree Story, to an intimate group of friends this evening. Mailing all the orders out, teaching tomorrow and leading workshop Saturday and reading again Sunday. After these things are said and done, next week will be all about 2023 Yoga Planning and wrapping gifts, making cookies, slowing down. It will take the next ten days to feel all the aspects of myself, is my point – but I will be my whole self within each fraction of life. Does that make sense?

In this process, I realize I am now the Operetta Director, the Sixth Grade teacher, the Executive. It is only up to me to decide whether or not I make the cut, whether I am good enough – a good enough listener, able to focus my energy. By saying I am, I am allowing the whole self.

People in your life, I think, are there to teach you the voices you need most.

Positive validation received from people teaches how to validate, critical thought received from people teaches you how to identify the opposite, positive thought – the next step – the action.

My hope for you is that you trust who you have always been and spend your days enjoying yourself. Enjoy your gifts, talents and abilities.

Seeing even tendencies like to tidy up as a gift, allows us to appreciate the moments we use them: in our own kitchen on a cozy weekday morning or in a hospital waiting room in the middle of a sleepless night.

In a way, this makes everything then more enjoyable bc it is an honor of our divine design, our connection to source energy.

And it makes risk taking feel courageous and it makes times we are wrong feel right.