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!

Keeping Yourself Intact

Last night, I stayed up until one in the morning, grooming a 4 page file that will print into a stair step fold on synthetic treeless paper and offer the words I have read forwards and backwards after waking and writing them at odd hours throughout the year, all lined up with inspired artwork, imagery and packaged up in a signature out side of the box idea.

It has been a labor of love and I can only pray with fingers crossed that this next proof has the measurements right so that I can confidently move all in on the next step.

One of my favorite parts of last night, was reading to my sister over FaceTime while she worked on a puzzle. I still can’t quite read the end without crying and when I got through it, I laughed through tears and looked at my sister. Who normally has quips and ideas and thoughts but in that moment, just looked over while still working on the puzzle – had tears in her eyes as well – and said, “that’s awesome.”

It is awesome. It’s a stew of memory, real stories, and intention.

Lately, when I feel like I absolutely have bitten off way too much, what helps me is that this project is actually awesome.

See, I don’t yet know how all the yoga fits with the self-publishing my personal canon fits with raising the dogs fits with perfecting the homemade biscuits supports the new marriage helps with the step parenting guides the getting one kid off the college informs the shaping the upcoming driver tends as the helpful daughter makes space as the committed granddaughter.

But I do know life is not right without it all.

And I do know the one consistency in all of it is my need to “not quench the spirit”.

Which, for as important of concept in my day to day life, ironically is the theme of the devotional I just cannot seem to get off the ground.

In conversations lately, I have heard several friends expressing a desire to be out from under the microscope, relieved from the tone police, allowed to live their life, trusted.

I find this theme is as present in my day to day (through my own experience or in listening to theirs) as the theme to not quench the spirit, and both ideas are equally present in my ambition – my active, iterative task list – my yoga life.

Again, this leads me to this question: how does it all tie together?

Keeping yourself intact when you feel ripped a part or scrutinized takes an enormous amount of mental resolve. Mental resolve takes patience.

One of the original Greek words for patience was “long suffering”.

What I have learned in my creative process and the requirement to “hold the line” of concentration in order to bring all of the inspired bits and pieces into one completed work, is it is an active state of listening. At least, for me it is.

Does “long suffering” get easier when patience isn’t working through something, but listening through something?

Relationally, I know the more tense I feel equates to the need I have to defend myself or explain, to accommodate or justify.

I have learned over time, becoming witness and listening helps any emotional mess that wants to cause erroneous emotional labor in my emotional world stay outside of my world. Similar to my midnight hours last night, it is all about listening. Responding, not reacting.

Keeping yourself intact, I do believe, requires you know the root truth of who you are, what you are trying to accomplish.

These motivations help you say yes and allow or to say no and avoid.

My file is at the printer this morning. I am hopeful about it. I am excited. I listened last night. I stopped when a part of the layout didn’t fit easily together. I picked up what felt right. I went back and forth, pruning, twisting, loving, allowing.

More than anything, I feel I have matured in my ability to avoid letting unanswered questions – the general unfolding of life – make me feel unworthy or unable to get something done. It looks different than I thought it would at first, but the spirit is well hydrated. :)

If you feel like you are emotionally man-handled, I would love to know some of the ways you recognize when something or somebody is creeping into your world and loosening the threads. It’s a really common theme for a lot of people. You aren’t alone.

Trying noticing if silence helps you. Use the breath. Make some art.

This Whole Writer Thing

I have been going back and forth on a few things from my last post… The whole going back to corporate thing I mentioned? I guess, it’s really about this sincere desire to work that I have and this LOVE of thinking and drawing insights and the pleasure of when they make sense to people who need them to – I love that. I experienced that in my work at Enterprise, so I say “I’ll probably go back” meaning – I am sure my life will wind me to where this intuitive analysis creative thing is a part of my career. I also love to think about industry. Mainly – I like to complain about robots like le Google and Siri and how they fail me, but I do love thinking about how industries can literally and actually make things better for humans.

The other thing that I was kind of noodling from yesterday’s post was whether or not my point got across. This whole writer thing – it’s just really interesting, because it is both who I have always been and who I am becoming. But the becoming thing? That’s where I am surfing.

I talked with Marketia after my post. We were processing vocation and purpose and I found myself sharing with her how in my “wrestling” between marketing and operations, purpose and practical next steps, how I knew – deep down – this answer of “what am I supposed to be doing in my life” was going to be so obvious.

All answers to big questions seem to typically be obvious. “Square between the eyes”, type of answers. So when I looked for what was already obvious and saw notes across my desk on how my writing moved somebody or thanking me for creating something, it made me really reflect on genuine comments on “the flow” and genuine excitement my friends and family have with me on the future and its unfolding.

It feels real. This whole writer thing…

So. Frozen Spaghetti readers, here’s what I am now in: the removal of the saran wrap that believes I need that person, that mentor, that role, that opportunity, that one thing. I am in the part of shifting from ladder climbing culture to future is now thinking that requires me to know what I obviously know (writing) and let the rest surprise me (even if it is obvious when it does in fact come).

The sheer amount of people who are popping up in my life is actually indescribable. I described them towards the end of my post yesterday… it’s not just bullshit busy work. These people popping up – phone calls and knocks on the door, lunch plans and business – they are different than the endless meetings that kept me from getting to “just get my work done” or “go heads down”. Shifting this “pressure like” feeling (Erin, are you prioritizing your time correctly?) is also part of this layer of saran wrap removal. (PS: For new readers, I retired from corporate life in 2020 and have been actively removing 16 years of thinking as limiting beliefs pop up.)

Yeah. So – I am a writer. Responsible for showing up for the projects. And I am (in my mom’s words) personable and “out there with others” and willing to show up for the people. These two things are a yin and yang that make up the whole. This balance of effort and ease, this is where my devotional practice 3.0 is coming to form. Like. An actual emergence of dharma that I know (special thanks to watching The Kardashians on Hulu) that I have to pay attention to. I cannot feel like there is something right to do and not do it. I have to follow what is obvious.

There’s that word again…

I have been thinking a lot about my health and my routines. How am I caring for my physical body and keeping myself primed for everything involved in this pursuit / moving forward as well as the things involved in this root / staying grounded (for the fam, ya know… and the dogs). It’s causing me to consider my nidra and my yoga and my diet and my tumeric and my black seed and my actually amazing doctor and how I need to get back there for some B12 and prayer. (She actually factually prays – straight up – in my appointments. It’s just so good.)

For those of you who have been following along and so supportive, thank you so much. The guilt and the pressure of performance is eased by your grace and is helping me feel confident as I navigate the nooks of my new creative universe, how I work with myself, and the trust thing.

I mentioned at the end of yesterday’s post that “We are the mirrors on the boxes we carry our hearts in and it is US that show back to the world what we would like to see” – I think this is why so many people are in popping up in my life in the same season I am actively putting in effort into these creative projects. In everything I do, I feel this nudge when the rhyme or the prose can be rounded or more open to let more people in. In all of the creative work, I feel this little jolt when there is insight there that if somebody read twice, went through – it might give. It might breathe.

If I did not know all of these people personally, would I be able to do that? I am not sure. The intro to the devotional has been through several test reads and the last comment somebody made was “It’s for everybody”…. it is… for everybody.

Which. Apparently lit agents don’t want to hear. :) so… back to figuring out this writing thing. BY WRITING. OK BYE HAPPY SATURDAY.

“We are the mirrors on the boxes we carry our hearts in and it is US that show back to the world what we would like to see.” Frozen Spaghetti