I am very excited to have opened up my online storefront today, paving a new path for my way of providing & receiving what I deserve, to experience a comfortable, healthy life. I have learned, that it is imperative that you do what you love – finding a balance between this, and all of the other many dynamics of living in this world today. It is essential to make a living, so how do we do so whilst maintaining happiness in our daily lives? It is simple – we remain open to what is working for us, while dedicating our energy in a selfless way, to what it is that inspires us most. When we do this, we don’t have to think about the money – the money will come, because we are trusting in the power of our energy, our creations. We will be abundant, because that is the truth that this life has to offer – as we attain and maintain balance, in all ways as a being.
As I have been expanding my skills as an artist, I have come to find that I am able to create through many mediums. I have struggled with which one to choose – which one to dedicate myself to, and focus upon. After having a very enlightening conversation with an elder several nights ago, I came to the realization that I don’t have to choose just one. Yes – I have to choose one to make a living on, to get started with – but I can do each of the things that sparks my fire, as long as I am doing them in a balanced way, with diligence and clear intention.
During my time in Oregon, as I relayed in my most recent post, I went through deep transformations and healing. I am still going through deep healing – everyday, I am growing and evolving. Learning to stitch and sow leather, came very naturally to me – it was as if I was meant to do it my entire life but never knew that I could or that I would want to. It took guidance from my elder brother Calvin to discover this. I am filled with joy and gratitude, when I consider the possibilities that my creations will offer forth into the world. To be able to incorporate my knowledge of herbalism and gemstones, two things I feel very passionately about, with my leather creations, is my dream manifest in reality. I can bring medicine to other beings, in a beautiful way that ties together my artistic abilities, with my healing guidance.
I am looking forward to presenting each piece to the world as it comes to fruition, as each will be unique in the energy that is put into it. Stay tuned for more photos within the ‘Leather Warrior’ section here on my website. Go check out my store at: Leather Warrior Storefront
My interest in herbs began when I was young. I was always curious about them, and what they were for. The wonderful scents that they would release into the air, carried by the wind and to my senses, were captivating. I found that my relationship with them was one of wonder and amazement. It wasn’t until I was nearly 25 that I truly began delving in to the different uses for herbs, in a medicinal way.
It was through living in a cabin in the woods and growing my first garden, with the help of my partner at the time, that I started to really open myself up to the power of herbs and plants. It all started with my now most beloved relation, Ocimum Tenuiflorum – Tulsi, also known as ‘Holy Basil’. In my yard, Tulsi sprang up out of nowhere. I had never seen or heard of it before, and one day a dear old friend picked a flower spindle for me to smell. I fell in love immediately. It was gorgeous, with tiny light purple flowers and a scent like no other flower I had ever smelled before. We thought that it would calm down the orange tabby cat who was then still a wild kitten, so he wrapped it around the inside of Oliver’s collar. Within a few minutes, his demeanor shifted to a more gentle, playful manner. It was amazing to see the herb have such a dramatic effect, and so quickly.
I decided the next time I went out to the garden that I would wait to pick the Tulsi until the end of the growing season, and dry it for tea. When I began drinking this tea, it opened my heart up in a way that I hadn’t felt since I was a very young child. This allowed for deep wounds to arise, to come to the surface for me to face. This was just the beginning, of a long, painful yet deeply transformative purging cycle. I only used the Tulsi from my yard, and didn’t continue to expand my relationship with it again until I began herbalism school.
Over two years and an incredibly heartbreaking relationship, I came out on the other end with a healed heart – very intensely, like the phoenix transforms from the ashes. All of the emotional trauma from my childhood was faced, and dissolved. Throughout this journey of emotional and physical healing, I was synchronistically led to the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism, as I shared in my most recent blog post (which was actually written directly before I began the Roots Apprenticeship program at VCIH).
Through attending this program, I received an incredible insight into the vast world of herbalism. I couldn’t have ever began to fathom the extent to which herbs can heal, the array of herbs that exist and the ways in which they are transformed into medicine. They can serve as medicine, without removing them from the Earth. There were a few herbs that called to me quite clearly. Self Heal, and again Tulsi. Without giving it my focus intentionally, it drew me in on a much deeper level than my previous experience. I allowed my relationship with Tulsi to grow, as I connected to it physically – I planted all of the Tulsi alongside another student, in the schools gardens. I meditated on its energy as I gently and carefully placed them in the soil. It was then, that I started to truly understand the spiritual energy of herbs. Tulsi expanded my senses to a whole new dimension of plant healing.
Now, to speak for my spiritual beliefs before I share a great deal of knowledge regarding the Tulsi plant – I do not practice the Hindu religion, but it has played an important role in my spiritual awakening. There are many parts and pieces to Hinduism that I resonate with. It is a beautiful way, and the art that encompasses its messages is incredible. Throughout my path of learning a little bit about every religion, I have found that my faith is deeply rooted in the Native Medicine Way. Through my ancestral roots, I have found that in my connection to the Earth – to nature, and the Great Spirit – I am most at home, at peace, in tune with my spirit & soul. I do however, as I said previous, have a deep reverence for Hinduism, and Buddhism alike – as they both offer an expanse of incredible insight.
In Hindu religion, Tulsi is a sacred plant that is worshipped as a representation of the goddess Lakshmi. It is believed that water mixed with the petals given to the dying raises their departing souls to heaven. Tulsi is cultivated for religious and medicinal purposes, and for its essential oil. It is widely known across the Indian subcontinent as a medicinal plant and an herbal tea, commonly used in Ayurveda. This plant is revered as an elixir of life.
“Tulsi, Sanskrit for “the incomparable one”, is most often regarded as a consort of Krishna in the form of Lakshmi.Lakshmi (Sanskrit: लक्ष्मी, lakṣmī, ˈləkʂmiː) is the Hindu Goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity. She is the wife and Shakti (energy) of Vishnu, a major god in Hinduism…Lakshmi was also a goddess of abundance and fortune for Buddhists, and was represented on the oldest surviving stupas and cave temples of Buddhism. Lakshmi is also called Sri or Thirumagal because she is endowed with six auspicious and divine qualities, or gunas, and is the divine strength of Vishnu. In Hindu mythologies, she was born from the churning of the primordial ocean (Samudra manthan) and she chose Vishnu as her eternal consort.When Vishnu descended on the Earth as the Rama and Krishna, Lakshmi descended as his respective consort Sita (Rama’s wife) and Rukmini (Krishna’s wife). In the ancient scriptures of India, all women are declared to be embodiments of Lakshmi. The marriage and relationship between Lakshmi and Vishnu as wife and husband is the paradigm for rituals and ceremonies for the bride and groom in Hindu weddings Lakshmi is considered another aspect of the same supreme goddess principle in the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism.
Lakshmi is depicted in Indian art as an elegantly dressed, prosperity-showering, golden-coloured woman with owl as her vehicle, signifying the importance of economic activity in maintenance of life, her ability to move, work and prevail in confusing darkness. Her four arms are symbolic of the four goals of humanity that are considered good in Hinduism – dharma (pursuit of ethical, moral life), artha (pursuit of wealth, means of life), kama (pursuit of love, emotional fulfillment) and moksha (pursuit of self-knowledge, liberation). In Lakshmi’s iconography, she is either sitting or standing on a lotus and typically carrying a lotus in one or two hands. The lotus carries symbolic meanings in Hinduism and other Indian traditions. It symbolically knowledge, self-realisation and liberation in Vedic context, and represents reality, consciousness and karma (work, deed) in the Tantra (Sahasrara) context.
The lotus, a flower that blossoms in clean or dirty water, also symbolises purity and beauty regardless of the good or bad circumstances in which its grows. It is a reminder that good and prosperity can bloom and not be affected by evil in one’s surrounding. Below, behind or on the sides, Lakshmi is sometimes shown with one or two elephants and occasionally with an owl. Elephants symbolise work, activity and strength, as well as water, rain and fertility for abundant prosperity. The owl signifies the patient striving to observe, see and discover knowledge particularly when surrounded by darkness. As a bird reputedly blinded by daylight, the owl also serves as a symbolic reminder to refrain from blindness and greed after knowledge and wealth has been acquired.
In some representations, wealth either symbolically pours out from one of her hands or she simply holds a jar of money. This symbolism has a dual meaning: wealth manifested through Lakshmi means both material as well as spiritual wealth. Her face and open hands are in a mudra that signify compassion, giving or daana(charity). Lakshmi typically wears a red dress embroidered with golden threads, symbolism for beauty and wealth. She, goddess of wealth and prosperity, is often represented with her husband Vishnu, the god who maintains human life filled with justice and peace. This symbolism implies wealth and prosperity is coupled with maintenance of life, justice, and peace.
Archaeological discoveries and ancient coins suggest the recognition and reverence for Lakshmi by the 1st millennium BCE. Lakshmi’s iconography and statues have also been found in Hindu temples throughout southeast Asia, estimated to be from the second half of the 1st millennium CE. The festivals of Diwali and Sharad Purnima (Kojagiri Purnima) are celebrated in her honor.”
It wasn’t until I discovered Tulsi’s spiritual significance, that I fully understood why I was so connected to this plant. I have always resonated with imagery from India, since I was a young child. Elephants have been my favorite animal since I was a baby, and the owl has had an incredibly intense presence in my life for the past 7 years – people were giving me owl jewelry, trinkets, wall hangings, candle holders, mugs, you name it…then, owls began appearing outside of my bedroom windows, holding a strong presence around my physical dwellings. There were times that I would hear 5 or 6 owls in one night, all with different calls, in conversation with one another. It was unbelievable.
Then, I was led to one of the most intense relationships of my life. This man is the same person that I mentioned at the beginning of this story. This may sound ridiculous, but the truth is that fate led me to this person; we physically smashed into each other as we were moving in opposite directions around a corner at a concert. I experienced a wave of heat rush through my entire body as we started talking. Three hours later, we parted ways after speaking to one another about our lives, interests and more specifically about these images that we wanted to share with one another; photos of reflections – mine of trees in a puddle, and his of a sacred place in Guatemala (Guatemala has been coming up in conversation for me frequently over the past year from others, as well as Hawaii – two places that I plan to travel to next). This relationship ended up being one of the most transformative and most deeply vulnerable connections that I had ever taken on. It forced me to evolve and change in all of the ways in which I needed to, to take on my path as a healer – this person was literally, like a mirror. A reflection that allowed me to see the deepest pains and desires that I had within. It wasn’t until after that night when we connected, that I realized he was in a band, named ‘The Blind Owl Band’.
And to add to the synchronicities with the owl, my previous mentor asked me to start a business with him, which he had chosen to name (without any consult or conversation with me prior) ‘Owls Lair Jewelry’. I knew the owl symbolized something – but it was not yet clear to me what was true. I had heard from my grandmother that the owl was a bad omen in native american mythology, that it represented the arrival of death. From others, I heard that it was a sign of good fortune and wisdom. It wasn’t until interviewing one of my musical spiritual gurus, that I was given the insight into what the owl’s medicine truly is.
When I met and spoke with Trevor Hall, he shared a story with me that I won’t ever forget. His personal experience with owls, as he shared it with me, was so eerily similar to mine. He learned from a native woman while he was on the island of Hawaii. The medicine of the Owl, is the strength to see through illusion. He wrote an incredible song about this very subject, which you can listen to here:
This coming into my reality created a massive expansion in my awareness. If you have read my previous post, Synchronicities & Manifestations: 1111, you have a little insight into my relationship with the Lotus, and more importantly my experience with my physical vision issues – as well as how I’ve struggled with trusting my intuition, the primary reason why the ending of the relationship that I spoke of earlier was so heartbreaking. This intuition is my power, and is is what guides me to see through illusion – to see the truth, and to see through lies – to see clearly, circumstances before they unfold. Since I was young, I have experienced this through dreams, and as I began learning about meditation I have also experienced it in several visions. It became incredibly clear to me, that this was all a part of my spiritual awakening. Along the way, an incredible book that I borrowed on a whim from Johnson State College in 2011, made its way back onto my bookshelf, 3 years later – Native Healer: Initiation Into An Ancient Art. I began reading this book, shortly before my relationship with that significant loved one ended. It stuck out to me on my bookshelf, and it couldn’t have been more properly aligned timing for me to notice it. It was through this Native Elder’s story, that I gained perspective into my calling as a spiritual warrior and a medicine woman.
The Native Medicine Way, combined with Tulsi’s role in my life, became more important than I could have ever imagined. These two sources of knowledge, were the catalysts for incredible shifts to take place within me. One mans story and one sacred herb – so much history and power. It is with great love, reverence and honor that I share this story – my personal story. I too, have found healing through the use of the Earths medicine, and through my healing will continue to heal others.
Shortly after the Roots Apprenticeship ended in November 0f 2016, I planned a trip to Portland, Oregon to visit my brother, and an old friend who owns a Medicinal Herb farm in Southern Oregon. Before departing for my trip, I was led to a Native Medicine man, by Krysta (owner of Lotus Lodge; my connection with her is explained within the same post that I mentioned a few paragraphs back).
This medicine man helped me to discover that I have 8 strains of Lyme’s, along with 3 co-infections. Before I discovered this, I almost ended up cancelling my trip, based on a fear that my heart wouldn’t be able to handle flying on a plane. I had been experiencing intense, sharp heart pains, pressure on my chest and trouble breathing. But I went against the fear, and made the journey anyway. I didn’t know it yet, but I was experiencing Lyme Carditis (which I learned about on my trip) – this is a late stage of Lyme’s where it’s moved through all of your organ systems, into your heart. The spirochetes then begin to eat away at your heart tissue, which can eventually kill you. I also learned from a dear lover, that Lyme’s can cause MS to form in the body, which I believe I was beginning to experience early symptoms of (severe joint and muscular pain, freezing of muscles and appendages).
It wasn’t until 3 weeks into my trip, that I received the medicine that I needed to begin the herbal protocol for Lyme’s. Within two weeks of taking this medicine diligently, as well as following very specific lifestyle changes (nutrition habits: cutting out all sugar, dairy and grain) – including my diet, daily exercise, mental focus, emotional support from myself, multiple creative outlets, and an environment that was conducive to my healing – I began to see drastic shifts. Along with the herbal remedies, I was drinking Tulsi & rose tea daily which completely relieve the heart issues. Within a month of treatment, I felt like I had a new body. I’m now nearly 3 months into a year long treatment, and feeling better in my body and mind, than I have since I was a young child.
Since I returned from Oregon, I have certainly had ups and downs – as I’m pulsing the herbs, my body kills off the bacteria and then allows it to come back, but slowly over time it is weakening it, which then creates the internal environment for a complete die-off and recovery from the Lyme’s damage. It is with great faith, that I trust and believe in the power of herbs to treat many illnesses – as I have witnessed through my own healing, how incredible each individual plant is. I share this story, to give hope to others who are struggling with physical illness. I do believe, that I was meant to get Lyme’s – that this experience has opened me up to my path as a spiritual teacher, healer & being. This has transformed my entire life, in all of the most amazing ways.
I look forward to sharing the further unfoldment of my story in one of my upcoming posts. My time spent at Lotus Lodge since I’ve returned, has led me to deep ancestral healing, physically and emotionally. In all of the lessons that I have learned, I am currently focusing on the way of right relationship – with all living beings. It has been a wildly beautiful ride, and I am blessed to be sharing it will all of the loving beings who are a part of my reality.
It’s amazing what can happen when you allow things to just be, to be still in the center of your self while watching what unfolds around you. It’s as if my path is a flowing river – the more that I allow the stillness to guide me, the more that I see unfolding in proper time. It’s beautiful and fills me with inspiration, building upon the gratitude that I continue to cultivate daily. I am overflowing with it, and so happy to share it with all that I experience.
In the breeze, in smiles exchanged through a quick glance with a stranger, the rays of sunlight shining down on the grass blanketed with leaves before me – a mural of transformation surrounds us, the world being like a painting that is constantly evolving – created by the paints of impressions, thoughts, feelings, perceptions.
To find joy in the moments of clarity, to expand that joy within the center of your being, will help you to appreciate the suffering that you will inevitably encounter in the experience of living. One of my favorites, Deepak Chopra, states that
“There are many twists and turns to suffering. The trail leads from fear of death to a false sense of self and the need to cling. In the end, however, unreality alone is the cause of all suffering. The problem never was pain; quite the opposite: Pain exists so that illusion won’t keep getting away with its tricks…once created, a perception lives a life of its own until you go back and change it”
Perception is everything. Once you are able to hone in on it, focusing with pure intention, things start to become very clear.
As I’ve grown, I’ve come to realize the grand importance of the small things. Discovering appreciation for the beauty within the stillness of just being – the moments that define how you live & who you are. How you handle the small things, says a lot about your ability to handle the bigger, more prominent lessons.
In my reading of ‘How To Train A Wild Elephant: And Other Adventures in Mindfulness‘, I’ve learned that by choosing to be more conscious of the small actions that are made throughout one’s day, mindfulness becomes a part of all actions. In turn, over time this mindfulness will allow one to cultivate internal peace, and great strength when facing the inevitable natural changes that this experience of life brings forth.
“A growing body of research is showing that mindfulness can reduce stress, improve physical health, and improve one’s overall quality of life. Jan Chozen Bays, MD—physician and Zen teacher—has developed a series of simple practices to help us cultivate mindfulness as we go about our ordinary, daily lives…Each exercise is presented with tips on how to remind yourself and a short life lesson connected with it.“
I highly recommend reading and following the simple practices within this book, if you’re interested in finding lasting happiness within your self & your life. To be able to share what I have learned with others is one of the many things that brings me joy. I hope my words can shine a little light in someones day.
I’m happy to be alive, grateful for all of the beauty & light that continues to pour into my experience, as my path expands. I continue everyday, to learn new things about this world, myself & others. The most important thing that I discovered recently through a deep meditation, is how to incorporate all of the major lessons and understandings I’ve learned, into a way of being. I will share them below, in hopes that these words find their home at the right time:
Recognizing defensiveness as an attempt to keep new insights from entering the mental field; depleting this negative habit, in turn ridding oneself of the negative instinctual response of resorting to defensiveness as a reaction to circumstances/situations that are not favorable
Working towards releasing negative thought patterns, one at a time; thoughts that promote or create self-pity, anger or blame, felt for or projected onto others because of anything that has happened/may happen “to” oneself. Every reaction is a choice that one must consciously make, and recognizing that others aren’t doing it “to” you, but that you are in control of your self, your feelings and your ability to respond appropriately to whatever it may be that is occurring.
Refraining from judgement at all costs; observing, and only focusing upon the thoughts that create a positive atmosphere. Of course one must make sound judgement upon how to proceed, and how to relate to others, but doing so in a non-attached, non-personal way.
Recognizing & then ridding oneself of old fear patterns
Acting upon inner guidance and trusting it fully, rather than ignoring it or going against it-this is key, your body will teach you and knows what is right.
Practicing non-attachment to people, places things; being able to develop a way of loving, that does not cling to worldly things, but rather is an expression of pure joy and gratitude
Detaching from any values that support the belief that success in life only comes from achieving goals; success in life is a process, it can and should be found in daily life in the little things. It is a process of achieving self-control, and the capacity to work through life’s challenges & adversity in a positive, healthy way. Success is an energy force, that must be gained & maintained.
Keeping one’s attention in the present moment, rather than focusing one’s thoughts and energy on the past or future; avoiding worry, and instead having faith in oneself and the greater plan.
It is with great joy that I am able to share these thoughts, aspirations & realizations with the world. My intention is to spread enlightenment, to create a space for conversation about such rich understandings. Please, if any of this compels you, reach out & share your understandings, experiences and beliefs. It is an important part of becoming in tune with yourself and evolving.
Every year brings fresh beginnings – some unexpected, and some sought out. It can be challenging to navigate the waves of uncertainty, but once one can master riding in the flow – as well as not resisting the ebbs – it becomes like surfing. With grace and ease, the Universe provides all that is needed along one’s path of growth, one’s expansion.
I have navigated through some of the deepest & most uplifting transformations of my life over the past three months – since I traveled to and returned from Oregon, my path has been full of deep lessons, proper medicine, discipline, new experiences/relations, which has all helped me to redevelop a very keen sense of direction.
I flew to the opposite side of the country for the very first time in my life and lived in entirely unfamiliar daily situations where I had to let go of control, which taught me how to live in commune with others – to maintain my own needs and desires, while also tending and being sensitive to that of those around me – to do so in a way that felt good, with a reciprocal energy exchange. This put me into an environment where I was forced to become deeply silent within my self, and to do this whilst being surrounded by others. This allowed for me to find deep truth about my home life, my daily life and my future. I finally, after years of seeking, learned what my illness was – how to beat the Lyme’s that has tried to take over my body – and I learned how to tame my mental, emotional & spiritual bodies, to align with my physical bodies sense of well-being. This brought great shifts – greater than anything I could’ve ever imagined.
Upon returning to Vermont, the depth continued to unfold. I spent a lot of time at one of my favorite places, the Lotus Lodge. I was gifted by a new friend, a full body massage which expelled repressed trauma that had been stored within my muscles for a very long time. I received the same gift by a dear friend while I was in Oregon, right before beginning my Lyme’s treatment and spending a month working/in retreat on the farm – this massage was incredibly healing energetically, emotionally and spiritually (primarily, but of course physically as well) – while the one in Vermont was healing on the next level of depth, physically. The body work helped me to release a lot of old energetic ties, as well as deep grief that I had trouble accessing on my own. It is incredible to received guidance on one’s healing path, from others. I felt that this body work unbound me, pushing me into my power, allowing me to shine brighter than I have in some time.
Following my incredible physical healing, I was able to return to my family as a clear channel of positivity & communication. Instead of the old triggers bringing me down to a lower vibration, I was able to interact and speak my truth within the family environment, without reaction.
I then took photos, worked for and experienced the ‘Winter Medicine Women’s Healing Retreat’ that was hosted at Lotus Lodge. The four days that I was there, I experienced deep connection to community – something I’ve always longed for, growing up in a place where this was not available – and the deepest healing that I’ve gone through yet in my life. I had a spontaneous healing ritual with two other women, in which I was able to connect fully to Great Spirit, Grandmother & Grandfather. I felt my divine feminine and masculine unite, moving waves of healing energy throughout my entire being. I was able to pray in a good, good way, while becoming a vessel for the healing energy of our ancestors to pour through me – in my connection to the Earth, to the cosmos, to all of my relations. And now I move forward in learning how to be an open vessel, to bring forth this healing energy in ceremony.
My perception was broken wide-open, I was willing to receive the guidance and I now have a clear direction of my path which feels most in alignment. When we allow, the alignment falls in to place. This is when we begin to see the synchronicities occurring again – the signs & coincidences that remind us of where we are. It requires letting go, proper discernment and devoted attention to our inner truth. It is through this devotion that we will manifest our own realities as we wish them to be – with pure heart-based intention, with our ability to let go of the fruits of our labor, with dedication to our dharma (life’s purpose).
This is my first blog post on the website that I am starting from scratch – I just learned several days ago that my entire photography site was corrupted. At first I was upset, and immediately after allowing that emotion to flow through me, I was able to let go. With a little help from my brothers, I was able to shift my perspective on the circumstances. I am able to see this as an opportunity to start fresh – as a rebirth of my artistic palette. I am going to focus with clarity on what I desire to share with the world.
I am incredibly excited for all that awaits, for the beautiful reality that I am manifesting for myself, with and for others who wish to dance this dance with me in this beautiful life opportunity! Stay tuned for some beautiful insights through my blog, as well as updates on what I’ve been up to artistically!