Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thursday's thought...

It's a little late in the day to do a Thursday's thought (it's getting close to being Friday where I am) but I'm doing Book of Days with Effy Wild and she posted this quote today that really hit me, so I decided to share the quote here as today's Thursday's thought.

One reason I almost didn't post this - and one reason I haven't posted an entry in a while - is that my blog has basically moved to its new home on the forthcoming Subtle Harmony site. But the site hasn't gone live yet, so the blog is just there, waiting to continue in its new location. Unless something changes, the site will be live late next week... once the new year is underway. I'll post a link here when everything is up and running.

And now for Thursday's thought...

"At the deepest level, the creative process and the healing process arise from a single source. When you are an artist, you are a healer; A wordless trust of the same mystery is the foundation of your work and its integrity."

-- Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen

Hope to see you soon at the blog's new home on the new site! ♥

Thursday, December 8, 2011

on healing and spirals...

Usually if I do a blog post on Thursday, it's a Thurday's thought - a quote (I LOVE quotes!). But this morning I woke up with these particular thoughts in my mind and I decided to blog about them today...

In my last post, I wrote about how I'd been under the weather. Well, this has turned out to be one of those sinus/upper-respiratory things where I'll start feeling better and then have somewhat of a setback... and then feel better and then have somewhat of a setback.

It's been aggravating because I really-really-really don't like not feeling well (for obvious reasons, and also for some deeply-rooted personal reasons).

And besides, I have things to do, dammit! I need to work on the Etsy shop, I need to be creating new things, I need to get content written for the new website, I need to work on the ebook, I need to do classwork and homework, I need to continue with decluttering and rearranging around the house, I need to freakin' clean the house...

But late last night, as I tried to stay warm in bed, I had a long talk with part of my inner self. I was reminded of some lessons to take from this experience (I need to truly rest more, for one thing, and honest-to-goodness do those self-nurturing things I know I should be doing... and there were some other lessons too because it really was a long talk.)

And I was reminded (reminded again, because this is something that has come up over and over for me) that healing is not a linear process. In my experience, with myself and many others, it's just not that simple or straightforward.

Healing - physical healing, emotional healing, mental healing, spiritual healing - is not usually an instantaneous and linear and one-time-for-good-forever event.

I like to think of myself as moving forward in a spiraling motion.

That's the way healing seems to me. And life.

It can circle and cycle back around, repeating some lessons, revisiting some issues, uncovering new layers... all in its forward progression.

This is one reason why the spiral is such a symbolic symbol for me. It's important to me for many reasons... but especially because, to me, it represents the path, the cycle, of life.

And the path, the cycle, of healing.

I've been doing self-work, self-healing-work, self-transformational-work, for a long time. Since my late teens (and I'll be turning 50 next week, so I'm talking a big chunk of time).

But my self-work turned up to high gear in the mid-90s when fear and anxiety took such a strong hold on my life that I became agoraphobic. I had to start working more intensely on healing if I wanted to have a life that involved leaving my house.

By the late 90s, I was no longer agoraphobic. But that time of agoraphobia revealed things to me that I still needed to work on - and that time of agoraphobia also left me with scars of its own.

Creativity helped get me through that time, and the years after. And so did learning all sorts of relaxation techniques, breathing techniques, yoga, meditation, mindfulness (back when not many people in my life were talking about mindfulness), CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) and changing thoughts and self-talk... and eventually there was energy work, chakra work, Reiki, aromatherapy, crystal therapy, sound therapy...

So many tools to help. So much in my medicine bag for life.

My healing path has not been a straightforward, linear process. It cycles back at times, returning to issues I thought I had dealt with... but revealing new layers, new perspectives, deeper wounds to face and heal.

And then there's the new stuff that comes up, life stuff, hurts and deaths and new issues that need to be addressed as the years pass.

Sometimes it feels like I take two steps forward and one step back - or two steps forward and three steps back - as I'm circling around, re-learning lessons, learning new lessons, being re-reminded of things I know deep inside my self.

Moving back around sometimes, moving in a direction that is not always forward...

Except - ultimately - it is forward.

I have always been drawn to the symbol of the spiral. But the phrase "moving forward in a spiraling motion" has been in my mind since I read a certain book about anxiety in 1998, and the phrase is what I keep coming back to when I start feeling discouraged or start thinking negative thoughts about myself when it seems like I'm having a setback or going backwards. When those thoughts of: I should be COMPLETELY OVER THIS BY NOW! start yelling at me. (whether this is physical or emotional or whatever)

Over the years there have been many, many, many books I've read about anxiety and fear and emotional wellness. The book that I thought mentioned healing as moving ahead in a spiraling motion is Journey From Anxiety to Freedom: Moving Beyond Panic and Phobias and Learning to Trust Yourself by Mani Feniger.

I pulled it from a bookshelf this morning and looked for the specific quote... and discovered I've been wrong all these years about the word spiral being involved. It's the same idea but not the same word (unless it appears elsewhere in the book).

My mind substituted spiral / spiraling... and it is symbolic for me... so in my mind, spiral /spiraling will still be what I use.

Here's what the book says. The author is quoting someone she worked with and interviewed:
"I don't even use the word setback," Claire told me, "because it has a connotation that something must be wrong. We all have different learning rates and a lot of things come into play. For me it is never really a step back, because I am never where I used to be. I have all this experience to draw upon. I feel like I am always moving forward in a circular kind of way."
Moving forward in a circular kind of way. Moving forward in a spiraling motion. My life tends to move like that. So does my healing path - healing in every aspect.

So as I deal with continuing to recover from my physical bug, I am reminded of this. And in being reminded of this, I am reminded to be kind to myself, and not beat myself up for not being totally well, and to give myself the time and the space for healing to take place.

To release and let go and let the spiral of life, the spiral of healing, do its thing.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

oils, crystals, and chicken noodle soup...

Early last week I came down with a bug. Congestion, gunkiness, sore throat, coughing, and generally a lot of just plain feeling awful. When I saw the doctor Thursday (at an appointment previously scheduled for something else) she said it was viral, nothing that required antibiotics, and to continue doing what I'd been doing to take of it.

What had I been doing? Well, I attack this kind of thing in a variety of ways.

Lots and lots of rest. That's a biggie.

Giving myself permission to stay off the computer as much as I needed, to nap when I felt like it, to just relax and watch DVDs and read (if I felt up to even doing that), and to do whatever self-nurturing things I thought might help.

I had hot tea with honey. Chicken noodle soup. Mucinex. Extra vitamin C. Echinacea. When somebody told me about grapefruit seed extract, I switched to that instead of echinacea to see if it made a difference. (It seemed to help... although by then I was already starting to feel better, so I'll have to wait for another time to really give it a proper try.)

I also used energetic home remedy techniques. Like giving myself Reiki.

And I used aromatherapy.

I used several different essential oils... eucalyptus, lemon tea tree, ravensara, ravintsara, clove bud, mandarin, frankincense, bergamot, lemon, hyssop, cedarwood... and probably others that aren't coming to mind right now. I didn't use all of these all at once, but I'd add a few drops of three or four different oils to the water in the diffuser and I'd change up the blend every so often.

And then there was crystal therapy...

Because my throat was such a problem, I decided to work with blue stones to resonate with the throat chakra. I wore sodalite bracelets. I made a quick necklace for myself using a piece of tumbled blue lace agate. I worked with loose stones of kyanite, blue lace agate, and blue aventurine.

After a little setback Friday evening and part of the weekend, I seem to be mostly over the bug now. My energy still isn't quite back to normal but it's much better. And it feels good to feel better!

Here's to good health! Thanks for stopping by...   ♥

Monday, November 21, 2011

negative icky self-sabotaging thoughts...

I have a website in the works. It's been my goal for a couple of years now - a place that will have my blog (which means this blog will have a new home!), a link to the Etsy shop, plus other goodies.

Finally, I've taken steps to do this instead of only think and dream of it.

I've hired a wonderful person to put together the site (since I'm pretty clueless when it comes to such things).

I've been taking some great courses that have helped me get more clear and focused on the essence of the business, and what I want my work to be.

I've started working with a fabulous coach to help me deal with this transitional time (staying on my path to do what I need to do to get the website going, the transition to actually having the site up and running, the transition of having one of those "big" birthdays next month... and basically the transitional phase my life is in right now).

Having a website is a big deal for me. It means putting myself out there more than ever before - and in ways I have never done before.

And as much as I believe what I wrote in my previous blog entry it is okay... I still have self-doubts and worries and fears and negative self-talk sometimes.

Friday was one of those times. Big huge high-volume negative self-talk went on Friday afternoon.

The reason?

Because, more than before, some things happened on Friday that meant having the website, having things move in this forward direction... well, it all felt really real. It felt like it was really on the road to happening. It felt like this dream was going to truly become a reality.

And the negative-self-talking, self-sabotaging, icky-feeling part of myself went into overdrive at the realization that I am really and truly taking the steps to make the website real and out there... which means putting myself more out there.

My day, which had started off feeling sunny and warm and optimistic, suddenly got some really dark clouds muddying up the works.

And, wow, did those icky thoughts run rampant for a while...

Who do you think you are? You can't do this. You were stupid for thinking this would work out. You were stupid to believe you could do this. What do you know about having a website? What makes you think you can do anything that might help other people? How dumb are you, daring to be hopeful and optimistic about this? You can't take a risk like this. You can't step out of the box this way. What were you thinking??? THIS IS NOT SAFE!!!!

I know the part of me that screamed those thoughts in my head is a part of me that's scared. Scared of doing something new. Scared of being out there, being seen and heard and known, having products and services that people might not want or might not like.

That part of me is afraid - and it wants to feel safe. That part of me came face-to-face Friday with the fact that I was taking definite steps to move forward, which is not a feeling-safe thing to do... and that part of me had a temporary freak-out.

The negative icky self-sabotaging thoughts about moving ahead with my goals are quiet now. I listened to the fear, I felt the fear, I gave it a warm shower and comfy clothes and a long nap and some chocolate... and after a while I got back to work on moving ahead with my plans for the future.

The main thing I want to say right now is this:

Those negative icky self-sabotaging thoughts? They are not truth. They are not my truth and they are not your truth. Give yourself permission to feel the ick for a while if that's what it needs, to let that part of you know it's being heard... and then find a way to help it and let the negative talk go.

I plan to write more about this in the future, and write about specifics that help me when these thoughts come up so strongly.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear any of your own techniques if you'd like to share some thoughts about this.  ♥

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday's thought...

"Life is your art.
An open, aware heart
is your camera.
A oneness with your world
is your film.
Your bright eyes,
your easy smile
is your museum."

~ Ansel Adams

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

kitchen aromatherapy...

I've got a bunch of different oil warmers and aroma lamps around the house, and a year or so ago I came across one that I just couldn't resist getting for the kitchen.

The tealight candle goes in its own little skillet pan...

And the water and essential oils go into the cute little teapot that sits on top of the "stove"...

But even after getting this specifically to use in the kitchen, I didn't use it. It sat on the bakers rack looking all blue and cute, while I continued using a different oil warmer in the kitchen - when I used one in there at all.

Most often, I use warmers in other rooms of the house. The kitchen? Sometimes. But usually when I've diffused essential oils in the kitchen it's been for big-time sessions... I have an old pot I use for this, filling it up with water and adding things like chopped-up apples, cloves, cinnamon, and a small bit of whatever essential oils I want to add.

Last winter, when I was so sick with an upper respiratory/sinus thing, I would put on a pot of good-smelling apple-cinnamon-clove water to simmer, and I would add things like ravensara, eucalyptus, tea tree, and other helpful, germ-fighting oils. The particular blend of oils would vary depending on the day, but this simmering brew helped clear the air and also added moisture to the winter-dry indoor atmosphere.

But except for using essential oils in other ways in the kitchen (like using peppermint when we had ants), I don't often simply put some oils in a warmer in there. I have no idea why use aromatherapy so often in other rooms and usually not the kitchen, but... that's the way it's been.

Recently, a goddess sister and I were discussing kitchens and I was telling her that I don't really like spending much time in my kitchen. She mentioned cleaning and clearing and intention, and eucalyptus oil was mentioned too... and my mind started working. There are more things I could be doing to make my kitchen a place I'd like to be. And one thing is to cleanse and clear and shift the energy with essential oils.

So yesterday I took the blue oil warmer and actually used it. In the kitchen. The talk with my goddess sister had put eucalyptus in my mind, so I decided to use that. I have three different types of eucalyptus oil, and I ended up going with the lemon eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora).

I also decided to add some Atlas Cedarwood (Cedrus atlanticus) because of its cleansing and grounding properties. The unfortunate thing about cedarwood is that, in the first moments of smelling it, I am immediately and strongly taken to memories of my first elementary school - and I don't particularly like being reminded of elementary school. But that's a temporary thing and it doesn't keep me from using cedarwood, so into the blend went the cedarwood.

Then I added just a tiny amount of frankincense (Boswellia carterii) because although I have always really liked working with frankincense, I've been totally drawn to it a lot lately and I wanted to use some in the kitchen blend.

But... I sensed I needed one more oil, I just wasn't sure which one. So I pulled a card from my aromatherapy deck and - it was the card for basil. Part of the card's description reads: Basil is a memory and mental stimulant. It is kind to the brain and relieves nervous exhaustion and life overload.

Well. Yes! Basil certainly seems to fit what I've been needing lately. So I added a small amount of basil oil (Ocimum basilicum) to the little blue pot.

I lit the tealight in the skillet and it was set to go. And it was nice.

Aromatherapy... it's good for the soul. Even in the kitchen when the kitchen isn't where we really want to be.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday's thought...

The meaning of our lives
 is found in the stories we tell about ourselves.
 Carl Jung once said that the most important question
anyone can ask is:
 What myth am I living? 
In the degree that we remember and retell our stories
 and create new ones 
we become the authors, the author/ities, 
of our own lives. 
When we forget or pay no attention
 to our personal histories
we begin to live by somebody else's
 myths, meanings and values
that do not fit the shape of our own spirits,
surrender the governance of our lives
 to some second-hand authority,
 some official myth maker.

~ Sam Keen

Sunday, November 6, 2011

it is okay...

I never tried to draw a face until recently. But thanks to some things I'm doing at willowing (thanks, Tam!) I recently did an art journal page that had a face for the first time. Imperfections and all, I'm going to post it here because I want to talk about some things it brings up for me... and I'm going to talk about these things because Angel over at My Mosaic Life has inspired me with her no longer content posts,

That person I drew doesn't look like me (although sometimes I wish for purple hair!). But she represents me. On the other side of the page, beneath the words you see, beneath the layers of markers and paint and watercolor pencils and gesso, there's a whole page of sentences of stuff that goes through my head sometimes - the bad stuff, like... I'm not good enough. I can't do this.

Those kinds of icky thoughts that make us not feel good about ourselves.

But then, at the end of the project, I'm left with the words that are visible now...

it is OKAY to be ME

I've been thinking about this two-page spread and how it relates to all of my seven major chakras...

As a first chakra issue, the root chakra - It is safe for me to BE.

From a second chakra viewpoint, the sacral chakra - It is okay for me to be myself in relationship with others.

As a third chakra issue, the solar plexus chakra - I can step into my personal power, I can be self-actualized.

Looking at it from the fourth chakra, the heart chakra - I can love myself enough to accept myself.

As a fifth chakra issue, the throat chakra - I can speak and express my truth.

From the viewpoint of  the sixth chakra, the third eye chakra - I can be open to my intuition and see the guidance to live my life and follow my own path.

And looking at it from the seventh chakra, the crown chakra - I am connected to Divine Spirit, one with all, and that connection makes me whole and okay.

All of this is big for me. For so much of my life I was afraid of being myself - because I might be rejected, I might fail, I might not measure up, I might not be accepted. But the thing is... I am so beyond tired of living that way.

The past several years have been a time of learning to stop living that way - and gradually, very gradually, I have come to the place where (most days) I really know that the words in my art journaling project are true.

It is okay to be me.

It's more than okay, actually. It's necessary. It's needed. It is essential to my life to be who I am.

And if that means risking displeasure, if that means rejection, if that means not meeting certain expectations, if that means being unfriended on facebook or not being invited to a gathering... then so be it. I'm finally willing to take those risks, because I have realized - finally, fully, deep-down-realized - that some things are worth the risk.

And being okay with being me is worth the risk.

It is okay to be me.

It really is okay. It is okay for us all to be who we are. It is okay for you to be you. It is OKAY. Be yourself. Trust yourself. It might mean letting go of some things, letting go of some ideas or thoughts, letting go of some people.

And although letting go can be hard, it's not good to lose yourself in the process of trying to hold on.

Sometimes letting go is the path to peace, the path to balance.

And it is okay. It is all okay.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday's thought...

"If you can see your path
laid out in front of you
 step by step,
you know it's not your path.
Your own path you make
 with every step you take.
That's why it's your path."

~ Joseph Campbell

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

oracle cards...

I have new goodies to play with!! UPS just delivered Colette Baron-Reid's new The Enchanted Map Oracle Cards and the deck is gorgeous - I can't wait to try these cards!

Colette's Wisdom of the Hidden Realms deck is my go-to oracle deck, the one I use most often. That deck spoke to me and resonated with me right from the start, and has been an incredible deck to work with. It's the deck I use for the one-card email readings and the three-card email readings I offer in the Etsy shop. And it's the deck I usually begin with when I do intuitive readings by phone.

The 30-Minute Intuitive Reading by Phone is something new I'm offering.

I recently took an amazing series of classes from M. Flora Peterson (also known as CharmingPixieFlora) at The Yay Factor and became a certified intuitive reader through her Intuition Mentoring Program. I can't say enough wonderful things about Flora - she's amazing! Her classes gave me tools and techniques that have now become a daily part of my life. Like...

Meditating more often.

Drinking more water.

Regularly calling my own energy back to me and getting rid of energy that isn't mine.

And so much more. Going through Flora's intuition mentoring program helped me gain clarity about my own work... which led to the decision to offer intuitive readings over the phone. I love the phone readings because there's so much energy as we talk together, and the call has such a fluid and evolving flow to it.

It has been exciting to discover this new love - because I had been totally shying away from offering services over the phone. The idea brought out the social anxiety I sometimes struggle with, along with that whole thing about not liking how my voice sounds.

But you know what? Doing a reading for someone else isn't about me. Worrying about my anxiety, worrying about what someone might think of my voice - those are ego things, and my ego has no place in a reading. That's another thing Flora's classes helped me with.

Okay, I couldn't resist any longer - I just did a first draw from the new oracle deck. My card is Ride the Wave... and that's a spot-on-target message for me right now. I think I'm going to enjoy this deck. ♥

Sunday, September 18, 2011

been a long, long time...

I had good intentions at the beginning of this year to blog here regularly. But did that happen?? Obviously not. I want to start blogging regularly, but I'm having some trouble making decisions about exactly how I want to do it and how to go forward.

First of all... Since the beginning of summer, I haven't done very many new things with Subtle Harmony. (Except a new banner and matching business cards!) I added only a few new items. I took a step back, a break from the shops as I thought about some long-term goals. In early August I deactivated the few items in the Zibbet shop, and I put the Etsy and ArtFire shops into vacation mode. Etsy came out of vacation mode and is currently open - but a percentage of my usual items remain deactivated. The ArtFire shop, for the time being, is still in vacation mode. I have so many things going on right now that I thought it would be best to focus only on one shop at the moment.

I've been busy studying and learning the past months... learning things that will, I hope, give me new knowledge and ideas for Subtle Harmony products and services. One thing I've done is that I've enrolled in Hibiscus Moon's Crystal Healer Certification Program and I've been taking some absolutely fabulous and wonderful classes on crystals and crystal healing! I still have some classes left to take before completing the program, but each class has been simply incredible and I'm looking forward to the others.

That's just one thing going on... I plan to talk more about other happenings in future posts.

Something I've realized in the past weeks is that I want to get back to my original goal for Subtle Harmony - which includes a website where I can offer more services. (Right now simply redirects to the Etsy shop.) So another question I've been pondering is: Do I keep this blog separate from that future website, or incorporate them together? Should I change to a different blogging platform? What to do? I don't really know enough right now to make a decision. A change to the blog, if it comes at all, probably won't happen until at least a couple of months down the road.

Other changes...  I've started art journaling. I'm spending more time outside barefooted, getting more grounded, more centered, and closer to nature. And my hair is now 6 or 7 inches shorter than it was a couple of months ago.

I hope you're all doing well. Thanks for visiting.  ♥

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

a little something about snowflake obsidian...

Lately I've been writing down information about various stones and crystals. Some of this has been for the printouts we send with the crystal therapy kits we sell in the shops, some of it is for a possible future project, and some of it is simply for my own personal use so that I'll have the information that interests me most about a stone right there in a convenient place. I'm going to be blogging about various stones now and then, and today snowflake obsidian gets the spotlight.

I enjoy working with obsidian - black obsidian, snowflake obsidian, mahogany obsidian, rainbow obsidian. I find snowflake obsidian fascinating to look at, with its inclusions and patterns.

Snowflake obsidian is black obsidian with grayish-white inclusions which resemble snowflakes. Obsidian is formed when lava cools very quickly.

Some metaphysical properties about snowflake obsidian...  It is considered to be a protective, centering, and grounding stone that resonates with the first chakra (the root or base chakra) and second chakra (the sacral chakra). It is said to help bring objectivity and dis-attachment. It is believed to absorb and dissolve anger, criticism, and fear - and also promote self-confidence and self-esteem.

Some say snowflake obsidian helps bring emotions to the surface and then helps release them. According to Philip Permutt in The Complete Guide to Crystal Chakra Healing, it “helps to release anger, resentment, and unhelpful behavior patterns and reduce loneliness, bringing peace of mind.” This stone also is also considered to be helpful with examining harmful thought patterns. In Love Is In The Earth, Melody calls snowflake obsidian a “stone of purity” that brings “both purity and balance to the body, mind, and spirit.”

So that's a little something about snowflake obsidian - thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thursday's thought...

"What would you
 attempt to do
 if you knew you
 could not fail?"

~ Robert Schuller

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February already...

It's a new month! January brought some crazy weather, with more snow than we've seen here in many years. January was also the best month Subtle Harmony has had since we opened a few months ago - thank you, wonderful customers! ♥

My most recent goal was to have 100 listings in the Etsy shop by the end of January - and it's done! As of right now, the Etsy shop has 103 listings and the ArtFire shop has 102. Sales keep decreasing the number of listings (which is always a welcome thing to happen!) but I've been adding things regularly... and I have two new chakra bracelets to list as soon as I take pictures and get the descriptions written. I've been doing more work with ribbon, I've started to work with chain bracelets, and I've also started working with copper - so there are some new things happening in the shops.

And there's also a new shop. We opened an account on a few months ago but didn't do anything with it... until now. Over the weekend, I got the storefront ready with banner, avatar, profile, policies, all that stuff. Then I started listing - although only two items so far! More will be added soon, and I hope to get the shop filled up quickly. It's quite bare at the moment but if you'd like to check out the Zibbet shop, just go to

So - that's the latest news! And here's the latest new item that's been added to the shop...

A short necklace of green aventurine with a pewter knotwork Celtic Cross pendant. I have always loved Celtic knotwork, and I can't resist adding more of it to my work.

I hope your February is off to a great start! Thanks for stopping by. ♥

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thursday's thought...

"Nothing will ever be attempted
 if all possible objections
 must first be overcome."

~ Samuel Johnson