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 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.

On the Uniqueness of Life

Writing my friend’s Sunset Speech, a reflection on her life and favorite things, meant preparing her – in a way – for the end of her life.

A lot of the speech came together on a flight to Palm Springs, California. I put the recording of the interview on in my headphones and let it play as I did a download of the main imprints left on my heart and mind from the time together at her breakfast table.

The recording came in handy to fill in dates and catch distinct names of destinations and timelines. Parts of the recording would catch my attention and something would float up – a meaningful piece that, with a thoughtful tie to one of her important notes, would really be a gift for her. As I wrote on the plane, I would feel the rise of potency and know I was on track. Things that felt loose or cheesy, I let be. Good ideas that felt amateur or juvenile, I knew just needed to bake a little bit longer. I have gotten to know my creative process so well at this point in my life. It’s such a blessing to know these types of things.

The next day, I soaked in the hot tub in the morning California sun, before all the sun bathers woke up to grab their chaises. Drinking coffee and reading over my notes, thinking a little and then staring at a palm tree – it felt so good to be somewhere different.

So good to be somewhere different.

Travel helps me write. I have always believed that in terms of self development, travel lets you see yourself against a different back drop. Parts of yourself that are in auto pilot or cycling, are more obvious when you are somewhere different. You can tweak them and change them with new experiences – food and culture, shopping and sitting.

Nancy’s first draft of the speech came together that morning and I called her to read the portion I felt was solid. “Oh, Erin!” I can hear how she speaks, “It’s wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.”

Later on that day, I would meet a vacation friend: an actual factual little old lady from Pasadena, who was traveling with her daughter. Her daughter would work until noon, then come down with a bloody mary for her mom and they would relax in the sun until dinner; each night with reservations to a thoughtfully picked restaurant. We spent time together in the mornings, sharing on work and life and books. She was so colorful and so charismatic. People would do anything for her. It was fascinating to watch.

One morning, as we soaked in the hot tub, I shared with her why I thought the speech was so wonderful to Nancy – or at least something that I thought went into it: I write with my words, using her words, in her manner of speech. As I wrote her Sunset Speech, an end of life reflection – I would hear her voice. I timed the whole thing using her cadence in my mind.

My vacation friend shared with me how this is actually a skill and a marking of high creativity: to be able to hear in the mind in a different voice. This feels empowering and like a bit of a ninja move. One of my projects on deck is a really sentimentally awesome Christmas book. When I write the manuscript, I hear the story told in my mother’s reading voice. Isn’t that something? Not mine. But my mother’s.

Yesterday, I took the dogs for a nice long walk after writing here on Frozen Spaghetti. The sky had bright sunny clouds with gray clouds interspersed. For the first time in a long time, I put on a podcast episode while I walked as I was curious to hear Liz Gilbert’s guest spot on We Can Do Hard Things.

Totally enjoying her absolute gift of gab, I decided to take a turn and loop through the park despite the early drops of what seemed to be a light rain.

Within 10 minutes, the clouds broke open and I was absolutely caught in a downpour. I was far enough from home that there was no point in running to the house. This was going to be a socks and shoes squelch squirch situation when you are soaked to the bones.

It made me smile. How absolutely hosed I was in this rain.

I have not had this happen since a spring trip to Chicago years and years ago when my daughters and I got absolutely caught in the rain. We didn’t try to escape it and – instead – played at Millennium Park in the puddles, in the never ending rain – because it was fine. It was living.

That day in Palm Springs, when I finished the first draft of Nancy’s speech – I was completely humbled by the uniqueness of her life. Of all her days, a few were so prominent, she remembered them – their quality – their deeper meaning. Nancy is not famous (though incredibly well loved and social social social) but she made her mark. I felt so touched by this gift to me in providing that gift of writing to her. The gift to me?

To know each day I live, getting caught in the rain – making friends while traveling, is my story unfolding. And there is nothing that truly makes one human’s story better than another. Their mark may be different, their audience may vary – who they are in the public may be concentrated or broad – but in allowing this wholeness of each person, without comparison, you get to be fascinated by the unique ways our commonalities play out.

Getting caught in the rain, listening to Liz Gilbert reflect on her partner’s final days brought on this awareness: Liz is so big in the world yet she had such small mornings, cleaning up throw up – she had hard nights, with an addicted partner. See what I mean?

No matter how big the grand scheme is, each day we get is so quite frankly ours. And it’s perfect. In its sun or in its rain.

In this? There is a lot of power.

And in that power? Is peace.