Little Red Zen

This morning, over coffee, David inquired to my morning practice of sorting envelopes with handwritten notes to myself in them; each envelope adorned with notes and reminders and ideas in various colored ink over the past couple of years.

I gave my best explanation of something that changes daily and realized the simplest answer is: it helps me orient myself at the start of my day and before my dreams. Fact: I felt I had so much to consider and work on with these 6 humans I love, that I intentionally started using sleep as productive time, trusting my subconscious and unconscious self could take care of mental repairs while I rested.

Yes… mental repairs.

Little context: My mental health game needed a reboot over the past couple of months. Fielding situations, talking talking talking and digging into relationships was unsustainable. I needed a bigger solution / longer term strategy so I resurrected a practice I dabbled in a couple of years back which is all based on understanding the archetypal patterns in your psyche.

I became interested in this after studying and practicing yoga nidra, yogic sleep.

For reference, yoga nidra is a relaxation method where one sleeps without falling asleep.

(Here’s my favorite, it will probably change your life. It is on spotify and apple music, btw.

PS: don’t listen to it while driving…)

Yoga Nidra uses revolving consciousness to numb the mind chatter and allow you to go inward… to hover on your motherboard among your belief systems and deeply embedded wiring. In several practices, I have had astounding experiences. Experiences that make me confident in recommending yoga nidra not only to relax the body and mind, but as a tool for rewiring patterns that don’t serve your life any longer.

I describe it to my yoga students as how sometimes you can stop a baby from crying simply by being in the nursery; likewise you can heal simply by being present with these patterns.

These patterns and belief systems, for me, lined up to a separate study a friend from teacher training introduced to me to via, Caroline Myss.

My dear friend gifted to me Sacred Contracts and Anatomy of the Spirit, Myss’ books that started to make things make a lot of sense to me.

Intuition as a trustworthy tool.

Archetypes as blueprints.

Caroline Myss uses the 12 house system as a way to examine one’s life, purpose and shadow work… this lined up with what I have always found fascinating in the zodiac, the divine’s great salt and pepper shakers in the sky – seasoning us all individually with planetary placements and characteristics.

Why not.

I found Chani Nicholas at some point in the last 7ish years and have been following her workshops and podcasts and teachings ever since. Practical. Abstract.

Miraculous. Realistic.

Mix these women with Jesus, the Buddha, Marcus Aurelius and the Dalai Lama and I have my mental mai tai.

Back to my necessary mental repairs: a few months ago, I started to feel really weak in my mind.

I felt overpowered, overrun and overburdened.

For somebody who published her first book, who was empowered enough to leave a corporate lifestyle that was only spending her at both ends, for somebody who got to pick “pie crusts or drawing hippos” when prioritizing their day – it really was not making sense that I felt so drained.

Life was so good and yet so hard. The future so bright but I was feeling really sad.

Collectively, I am sure we all have felt this due to the pandemic. Yet, I have always been enthusiastic, willing and happy. Funny and playful and bright. The sulk and uncertainty was serving nothing – was a total buzzkill – and taking away from really otherwise peaceful moments.

You may be in this place.

This place where where you are and what your life is, your age and your family, your children and their problems, your children and their children, your finances and your dreams, your life purpose and your day job, your puzzles and your pride – these things are conflicting, trapping you and somehow then also making it hard to know what to eat for dinner. Making it difficult to sleep. Making it impossible to do what you love.

So… here’s what I know. And I really do think I know this as somebody who has reclaimed her power in the 8th house :) of mental health.

If you are awake today? Like if you opened your eyes and have consciousness today?

There is purpose on your life.

There is reason to your name.

It may be smile at the grocery store clerk small (through your mask, a special new challenge to rise kindness) but it also may be big.

Big for me these past two weeks was turning that pouty perfect Little Red Hen into a reasonable, hardworking Little Red Zen.

I am going to keep on saying this: We are guaranteed nothing. We are not guaranteed tomorrow or our loved one’s tomorrow.

Time is actually factually too short to give power to hopelessness.

I believe, time begs us to turn hope into a noun.

I believe hope gets irritated being a verb or a feeling.

See, Hope is an anchor. (Hebrew 6:19) Hope is the thing we trust when we are rocked by the waves.

Hope is the thing that lets us wake up and take on our purpose – whatever size – and allow time its relativity. Its stillness *and* its grand schemes.

Today is a good day to assess hope in your 8th house of mental health.

Have hope that whatever you choose as a ritual in the morning to orient your day or as your reflection in preparation for sleep will work.

Will orient you. Will help you claim your purpose.

Again, I say, “why not”.

BTW. Here’s my hippo. Isn’t she cute? She is in Words that Rhyme and Lullabies. :) But you can also buy her sticker here.

Who is the patron saint of puppies?

We are winding down with tea and the US soccer game and I allowed myself one Google search parameter and only two articles to decide on my next step for tomorrow. No. Rabbit. Holes. Erin.

It is proving to be difficult (as I start on my fourth attempt at this paragraph) to use this outlet to help myself out without going into the complete nitty gritty of everything in the top of my mental funnel.

Two months ago, I was browsing soy sauces online for 45 minutes, researching braises and comparing blueberry bushes. Tonight? I am actively processing guilt for not crate training the puppies immediately, thinking about how I am going to explain to David that this is about to become a super pain in the ass, and praying The Watering Hole is a miracle God sent angel gift that helps me have two dogs that are good to other dogs.

I did not know that you are supposed to keep littermates separate at night, people. Also, thank you internet for being horrifying with all your information.

It is starting to make more sense every day. The goal of littermates is for the dogs to be “obedient together” and “confident separate”. With this in mind, I feel pretty good about how we are managing the dogs. (They get a ton of attention and individual time.) But…. they are coming of age and rough housing and it’s like a drunk driver teaching another person how to drive blindfolded. I did not realize that littermates will not teach the universal dog language inherently. Every time I see Rey play bite Thor on the leg I cringe, use the Say Uncle command (which makes them stop and sit at my feet for a treat), and pray all this work pays off.

I feel like a theme in my life is that I make things harder for myself right when I get to a clearing. If I achieve a plateau, I add a layer. I wondered tonight if it was a super hero complex or my saboteur archetype. Paging Caroline Myss.

I was all in on Rey and Thor (my 17 week old shepherd mixes) for good reason. I wanted family dogs to help spread the love. I wanted to walk good dogs and take them to beer gardens and sunsets. I miss my old dog and how he would lay in the sun while I gardened. If I was to get dogs, now seems to be a good time. There is just always so much you don’t know until you get into something.

As I near forty (my birthday is at the end of June), I realize all these Google searches I am doing now about the dogs; trying to get enough information to synthesize into one strategic dog culture, is a lot like the conversation David and I had after we got home from Home Depot with armfuls of supplies to strip, clean, condition and paint our 100+ year old porch.

It did not take long after getting into the project for us to change our plan. We felt like we wasted the morning but both agreed it was time well spent – we needed to get into it to know how we wanted to do it.

So, here I am. I am into it figuring out how I want to do it. And I am wondering if this is a 40 year old maturation thing. I wonder if now I will have a treasured habit of contemplating everything I may want to know prior to jumping in. It doesn’t seem like me, but I think it is becoming me. I think this is a big shift where I combine bravery and experience.

When I was painting the porch, I had a little bit of clarity where this thought came, “the dogs will be what you make them”. And I felt relief. They love my kids. They love me. I LOVE THEM. I bury myself in them sometimes. I hold them like babies and they calm us all. My mom said today “they are really special, Erin”. And they are.

I just don’t know what I’m doing. lol. Ok. Good night. Mind if I talk about puppies more on this thing? This felt good. erin

this photo is titled “help me jesus”