Saturday, June 24, 2017

Selfies...???

So I have a "thing" about "selfies"; the "thing" is...I am not a fan. I suppose part of it is because me thinks our culture is obsessed with itself. Collectively and individually. I walk and/or drive around town and I watch as youngsters hold their phones in their hands as if they couldn't breathe without them. Kinda like an external lung. They barely watch where they're going or notice their surroundings. They step off curbs, into traffic, with nary a glance at what may be coming. And they walk...or rather, amble, across the road as if they're immortal. I get great pleasure honking my horn right as they reach dead center of my truck's hood. I laugh my ass off when they jump out of their skins and glare at me. I know. It's mean! But you know something? I don't care. I feel it is my personal mission to get them to pay attention. And besides that, what I really want to do is grab the fucking phone and toss it in front of a speeding bus. So, in that regard, I'm not as mean as I could be. (hear the sound of my roaring laughter here.)



{First Aside: as you can see, I have very strong feelings about this. I want to assure you, though, that we WILL come back 'round to JOY. As we always do. So...hang tough and read on.}

The second reason I may be so averse to selfies is that I'm terrible at taking them. Every time I think it might be fun to try (while in my home, not out in public), I take about ten...and hate every one of them. I look ridiculous. What's worse, I have never once taken a selfie that was even remotely flattering. So, perhaps, I am just as guilty of the self-obsession I so clearly loathe.

Strike two.

{Second Aside: to prove my point, here is a selfie I took just before sitting down to right this post. See what I mean? RIDICULOUS.}


{Actually, the real reason for wanting to take a photo was because my hair is looking fabulous today. AND...it's finally long enough to put up in a banana clip. Thrilling stuff, this.}

But back to the point...

While watching "World of Dance" this week, there was a couple who did a dance that was all about their own feelings about cell phones and how we ignore the loved one right in front of us, just because we need to keep our faces buried in our phones. It was both profound and a stunning performance. They won the "battle" for this week's Face Offs. I had recorded the show, as I always do, and watched that dance three times before moving on. I was so deeply touched, I had tears running down my face. So, you see, this has been festering for a while. Even before seeing that performance, I have struggled to keep my perspective about all this. Mostly because I want to be certain that I am not turning into some crabby old woman without a sense of perspective or any aversion to change. I want, always, to be open-minded and eager to face change. I want to remain open to new adventures. Most of all, though, I wish to live my Life with boundless Appreciation. Having such aversions to the way the mainstream uses technology is, in my mind, a tricky and treacherous line I walk every time I see what I see.

If I am being honest with Meself, the whole thing boils down to judgments. That is to say, I am judging people for the way they live their lives. Or use their devices. Or the choices they make. I judge them without having a clue about who they really are. Or why they do what they do. Or the personal freedoms I so strongly support. Who the hell am I to judge them? Further, why should I care at all? Is the mainstream obsession with selfies going to have a derogatory affect on my world? 

The answer is: NO. It has nothing to do with me, unless, of course, I make it my business. Why in the world would I do that? Why should I care if people are zombie-walking through their lives with phones permanently glued to their hands? What has any of it to do with me?

In some ways, I could argue that, in a Big-Picture kind of way, it does affect all of us. In the way that people are so immersed in their social media lives that they're not participating in the world around them...and that is a mighty dangerous thing.

{Third Aside: case in point: the current President of the United States and how he got there. Did you know that less than sixty percent of the population voted? But...let us not go down that road...Talk about slippery slopes!}

To say that none of this is affecting us, as a global society, is to be blind to all the rest of the things going on right now that sorely need our attention. As you can see, I'm vacillating here. Yes or no? Does it or doesn't it matter? 

So...here's where I ended up:

I have the choice, just as each of us does, to CHOOSE what I give my attention to. I have the power, in my own Life, to change my focus and direct it to those things that not only bring me Joy, but also have a direct affect on the world. Energy is energy. Where I focus that energy, where any of us focus, is the only thing that really matters. Do I wish to focus on the insanely massive selfie-taking population OR would I prefer to focus instead on all the millions of people who take time, each and every day, to make the world a better place? 

Me thinks it's a no-brainer.

{Last Aside: SHEESH! I'm so happy I got that off my chest!}





Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Prime My Body

As you may or may not have heard, there is a LOT of talk going 'round about the use of hemp extract for medicinal purposes. But really, it's nothing "new". Hemp extract has been used for THOUSANDS of years for more things than you can shake a stick at. Clothing, rope, textiles, healing, and so many health benefits that were I to list them all, I'd likely lose you.

Point is, the stuff is more than some snake oil nonsense. It is, honest-to-Pete, a marvelous elixir that has helped many people overcome such maladies as severe chronic pain, menstrual irritations, intestinal ickiness (okay. that's not a medical term. but it paints the picture, don't you think?), and skin problems. These are but a few of the many.

Now, as most of you know, I don't often "advertise" on this Blog because I didn't intend it to be a "commercial" platform. HOWEVER (isn't there always?...), from time to time I do post such things mostly because the product is just too awesome to overlook and/or it is something a friend may be involved with. Either way, whenever I have posted these things, it is always with deep trust. Both for the product/service AND the person involved. This is one such occasion.

My dear friend, Maureen Sellars, was diagnosed with RA not long ago. She and I have known each other for decades. She's also my numero uno competitive champion. We used to shoot pool, and play tennis, and generally compete with each other (back in the day). She's also the only woman who's ever been able to beat me at pool more than fifty percent of the time. That's sayin' something! But really, she is more a sister to me than a friend. More than that, she is part of my Tribe. I trust her implicitly. And when it comes to matters of health, I know she's done her homework. When she sent me a bottle of this stuff (around my birthday), I couldn't wait to give it a go. After hearing how much it helped her, I was anxious to see if it might do the same for me.

{A little Aside here: I was going to launch into a whole dissertation on my experience with the oil, as well as Maureen's and another lady friend of hers. I have opted to forgo said dissertation. Instead, I am going to post links below so you can do your own reading, if you wish.}

The short version of that dissertation is this: if you suffer from any sort of malady that has, thus far, eluded the medical community, you really ought to have a look at these products. They are nothing short of miraculous. 

I. KID. YOU. NOT.



So, without further ado, here are some links for more information:

Maureen's product site: MoJo PrimeMyBody

How Cannabidiol Works: Elixinol

CBD Oil Review: Supplemental Police

For Intestinal Disorders: Medical Jane

Benefits of Cannabinoids: The 49+ Benefits of CBD & THC & The Endocannabinoid System

I do hope you'll have a look around. This is NOT the kind of thing that gets you "high". The oils and other products are completely legal, in ALL states, and have no psychotropic properties.

Wishing you good health and great JOY!

Cheers ~~~




Monday, June 19, 2017

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Saw something late last night that troubled me. BIG time. As I tend to lean to the "obsessive", I knew immediately that I was going to have to whip out my Tool Box and put that crap OUT. Woke up this morning and the first thing that popped into my head was this song.

First let me say, I'd never seen the video before today. And I'm guessing I haven't heard the song in years. So when I dashed to YouTube to find it, and then watched/listened, I was happily surprised when I saw who is in it. You may or may not know...but if you click on it, you'll get to lift yourself up, even for just the moment (although, I suspect, longer than a moment!)

So...don't worry. BE happy!

Cheers and giggles from the Hot Zone

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Kindness Rock Project

A couple of years back, I found an organization whose sole purpose was (is) to promote Kindness. At the time, they were offering wonderful little cards that were meant to be shared with strangers. I jumped on that band wagon, and even went on to make some of my own (with their website added, of course). It was one of the funnest things I've ever done.

Now, here in 2017, yet another "movement" is growing to enormous numbers. This time it's all about Rocks!

Yes, I said ROCKS.

It goes like this:

You gather up rocks, either from the environs or at your local craft store, bring them home, paint them, and then HIDE them for folks to find. It is not just fun. It's a wonderful way to spend hours in HOPE.

Here's what I mean.

Imagine you're walking through a park, or down the grocery aisle, or down your street with your dog. Rather than being glued to your phone, you're actually LOOKING 'round your surroundings (JUST IMAGINE!). There, tucked in a nook or at the base of a tree, or behind the Cheerios, something catches your eye. You walk to it and find a pretty painted rock. Just sitting there. Waiting for YOU!


Do you think it would bring a smile? Or maybe...make your day? Imagine if you're a child...and you found one with a little duck or a Superhero or a funny little frog. What do you suppose your reaction would be to such magick? 

The thing is, for me...it's a way to get folks to stop staring at those blasted phones and actually take the world in. To enJOY the beauty around them. To inspire children and "grownups" alike to wander wondrously. 

How freakin' cool is THAT?

So then. if you happen to fancy some creative moments and want to add some Joy to your world, why not give it a go? You don't have to be an "artist". (but then, we are all artists, in one way or another). You don't even have to spend a ton of money for supplies. Your local Dollar Store will likely have most of what you need. Or check eBay for paint pens and/or garden paints. You can get that stuff pretty inexpensively there. In short, a few dollars and you're ready to ROCK. (get it? See what I did there?)

{Oh, BROTHER.}

I'm telling you, it'll make your heart happy both in the painting and in the hiding. 
It's GOOD FOR YOU! 

Here's the link to The Kindness Rock Project. 
{there's even a map on the site that shows groups all around the country, in case you'd like to join up. You can even start your own!}

You can also do a search on Facebook to see if there are groups in your area. There, you can meet up with others and have little Rock Painting Parties. Or gather the neighborhood kids together and let them join in the fun. There are ZILLIONS of options. All you have to do is...DO.

ROCK ON, FELLOW HUMANS! 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Crow's Gaze

Graphite on toned paper. © Camille O. Strate.

"Crow's Gaze" 


Sunday, June 4, 2017

a little Sunday reminder

Do not underestimate the power of your intentions.


That is all.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

you just NEVER know...

I am a creature of ritual. They provide me with a sacred space to ground, and focus, and set intentions for my day. I have always been this way, even before I knew what "rituals" were. Sure, I knew about the ones in the Catholic church where I was reared. I thought them all morbid and grotesque. Even at the ripe old age of twelve. But ritual was part of their modus operandi, in keeping with the tradition of suppression. I left the church when I was TWELVE.

But that didn't keep me from my research. I wanted to know how and why people were so easily swayed. I wanted to understand the blind following of such an enormous segment of the population. How was it that people who appeared to be so intelligent could follow such ghastly teachings in the name of salvation? I was, to say the least, a "problem" for the nuns.

All that aside, for all the searching I've done throughout my lifetime, I have never once swayed from my love of ritual. Burning candles has been a mainstay for me since I was eleven or twelve years old. I also find great comfort in writing down my intentions on fine linen paper, drumming on my beautiful hand drum for some time, and lighting that paper on fire. There is a trust in my self-developed rituals that I never once felt when I was a member of any church. In essence, I suppose you could say that I found my own religion...and it suits me just fine.

{A little aside here: I have been called many things in the name of my chosen path. Heathen. Witch. Heretic. Devil worshiper. Etc., etc., ad nauseum}. I've always found it more than amusing to hear folks call me such things. Especially when I see how they live their so-called "christian" lives. Sad. Hilarious. Ridiculous. No matter. Unlike many who claim themselves "christians", I do not judge. I simply recognize their judgments...and carry on. Like any solid Heathen would do.}

{P.S. You may or may not have noticed that in most of my posts, I do not capitalize words like "christian" or "god" or "pagan". This is not an oversight. I simply do not adhere to the rules of dictatorial grammar. I am who I am. And I ain't Popeye.}



Back to the point...

One of my funnest dalliances is with Medicine Cards. It is a sort of Tarot deck, but based on Native American teachings from various elders in the Choctaw, Lakota, Seneca, Aztec, Yaqui, Cheyenne, Iroquois, and Mayan traditions. I do not use these cards to map out my Life. Rather, I use them as a sort of guide to those things that  I may be ignoring. Or unaware of. Or...just some shit that needs dealing with. Yep. There's shit. And if we go 'round pretending it's everybody else's fault, we miss the messages that so madly wish to be heard.

So anywayzz...

I pulled a card the other day...and it was Hawk. Now, first let me say that I DO hold totem animals in high regard. Just so happens, Red Tailed Hawk is mine. Which, for all my logical and/or pragmatic reasoning cannot be explained. Just feels right. Love those critters in ways that simply cannot be explained. Just is. I trust it. As much as some trust the "word of god". As much as a mama knows when here baby is in trouble. As much as when your bones tell you it's going to rain.
We.
Just.
Know.

So I pulled the Hawk card and read (again) the message that Hawk is meant to bring. As I read, remembering all the many times I'd read this message, I felt the chills run up my arms, to my neck, up into my skull.I felt that lovely familiar grin creep 'cross my face. Ah YES. Hawk has returned. Couldn't have been timed any more perfectly.

{Such is the Magick of my Life.}

{Second aside: As I write, I am listening to the brilliant Ed Sheeran. THIS is the song that has me stuttering on the keyboard at the moment. Dude makes me jump up and DANCE. Barcelona...}

Hawk's message, in the most condensed Reader's Digest version is this:

Pay attention. The Magick you have forgotten is all 'round you. PAY. ATTENTION.

(Again, a most condensed version. I am doing my best to keep this missive short enough to retain your attention without losing the gist of this Magick. Please. Bear with me.}

{Did I mention how much I adore Ed Sheeran??? "Galway Girl" }

After pulling the card and reading Hawk's message, I set it up on a little stand, jotted down a few words, and went about my day. The particulars of this day were to go to the grocery store. Trader Joe's is my go to for most of my food stuff. I've been going to TJ's for decades, and this one in particular for the past fourteen years. The folks there are the BEST. They're friendly and helpful and plain ol' fun to see. I have my favorites, all of whom always give me a hug when they see me. It is, for the most part, the largest part of my social life. (No. I'm not kidding. I like being a hermit!)

Before I go further, I need to back-track a bit. About a month ago, after my first-of-the-month visit, I came home feeling the joy of seeing my pals and hearing their respective tales about their own lives. I was happily putting my groceries away, smiling at the interactions and feeling deep gratitude. When I was finished storing my food, I sat down at the computer and wrote a letter to Trader Joe's headquarters. It was simply a letter relaying how awesome the staff at "my" store is. It was, in essence, a thank you note for the terrific job they do. Unbeknownst to me, that letter was forwarded to the manager at my store to be shared with the entire crew. It was also posted in the Regional Newsletter. And, also unbeknownst to me, it was the very first time that the Escondido store made it into that Newsletter. Apparently, an enormous deal to those Crew Members.

So...back to present:

I walked in the store and almost immediately heard someone holler (quite loudly!) my name. I turned to see Brenda, one of my pals, coming toward me with a giant grin and arms open wide. She gave me the biggest hug and told me about the letter. She was beyond thrilled about the whole thing. She said, "We've never made it into that Newsletter. I've been here for seventeen years and this is the first time. I can't tell you what that means to me."

I was completely blown away. I had no way of knowing how much that simple letter would impact her or the others who had also been there for years. One after another, as I went about my shopping, these women would see me, shout my name, and give me a big ol' hug, thanking me the whole time and sharing their own versions of how long they'd waited for this. I couldn't believe it! Such a simple act. Such a massive response. I had done what I do (write), with only gratitude in my heart. And that gratitude came back to me a thousand fold. By the time I left the store, I had tears in my eyes for all the love that had been showered on me while I shopped.

I'm tellin' ya, it was AMAZING!

As I drove home, I remembered what Hawk had reminded me. Pay attention. Watch for the Magick that is all 'round you. Remember your blessings and share your gifts. I had goose bumps all over me, all the way home. I felt as if the skies had opened up and showered a million stars on me. I felt like it was my birthday and Christmas all rolled into one. And now, a day later, I'm still feeling all of that love. Just for writing a simple letter!

The thing I wish to convey here, more than anything else, is that you just never know what one simple act of kindness and/or gratitude is going to do for others. You don't have any way to foresee the massive impact your kindness can have. So just do it. Do something that you feel is good, just for the hell of it. Jot a note and mail it to someone, without signing your name or expecting anything in return. Open a door. Carry a package. Do anything you might think of to show kindness.

Hawk is always watching.