Knowing What You Don’t Know

I know I jump around a lot in the topics that I cover here in My Little Bird Blog but that is because I wait for inspiration or my guides to tell me what I’m supposed to write about for the week. This week’s blog is more about the inner life of the writer, at least this particular writer.

I need to start off with some background information for my stories to make sense. Some

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The Chakra System in the Body and its Colors

of you are familiar with the chakra system in the body but others of you are not. The chakras are circular areas of energy that reside over each cluster of organs in the body and have to do with the energy they receive or give off. The first chakra is between the legs at the base of the spine and the color associated with it is red. It is considered the foundation chakra. Chakra #2 is about two fingers below the belly button. It is the creative chakra and the color is orange. Chakra #3 is just below the point where the rib cage meets in the front of the body. It is known as the power chakra and its color is yellow. Chakra #4 is in the center of the breast bone in line with where the heart is located. The color belonging here is green but I also find pink in this chakra or slightly above it. This chakra deals with feelings, emotions, compassion. Chakra # 5 is at the base of the throat; its color is blue and is responsible for our communications both spoken and written. Chakra # 6 is above the eyebrows just above where they come together. Some people have a dimple or a raised area at that point. This chakra helps us to take in and process those intuitive messages that we receive and its color is a blue/green. Chakra #7 is above the crown of the head, its color is lavender, and it is associated with receiving messages from our spiritual guides, or for some, God.

Years ago I took a workshop on the animals within the chakras. It sounded like an interesting topic. After some explanation we were taken into meditation and asked to meet and talk with the animal that we found in each chakra. Later we got to share some of the conversations that we had conducted with our animals. I’m always first the skeptic…well I should say at first I think, ‘Now that is a great idea,’ and then I think, ‘Yeah, prove it to me.’ Well, I got proof that weekend and on into the next years. Come to find out I have a white wolf, Shaboo, that inhabits my 6th chakra, the one that governs intuition. This experience was interesting, but what happened later–and even today as I think about it–is a bit mind blowing:

Years after that workshop, when my husband Sy and I were running Merlin Books and had been doing so for over five years, he began saying to me that we needed to put the store up for sale or close it down. We had headed into the recession of 1989, and because

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Shaboo When She is in Good Health

he handled the bookkeeping he knew what was in the check book for profits. I refused to hear him. Then one evening Whitley Dresser, our metaphysical teacher, took us into meditation and asked us to look at some problem we were having and to see if any of our animal friends would make a comment. (Whitley had heard about the animals in the chakra workshop.) It wasn’t long before I found myself sitting in the mouth of a cave high up looking over a valley filled with houses, the accouterments of a community, and a city off in the distance. I’m afraid of heights so I reached down to steady myself and touched this furry creature. I turned to look and it was Shaboo from years ago. This time as I touched her she was very thin, skin and bones, as if she hadn’t eaten in a long time. Her fur was stringy and she just lay there. I blurted out, “Oh, my God, what has happened to you?” She lifted her head a bit and said, “You haven’t been taking care of me and I’m sick and tired. I need help.” I’m not even sure if I spoke back to her but I snapped out of the meditation.

Not long after that, Sy, my second husband, and I went to see a therapist and she was able to help me hear Sy when he said it was time to close our chapter on the store Merlin Books. I think Shaboo was responsible for putting me in a place where I could finally hear the need not just the words.

More recently, the day I held the first copy of my book, A Bird and the Dragon: Their Love birdanddragon_frontcover_33Story: A Memoir, you can imagine my excitement. I was holding a lifetime dream in my hands. That afternoon I did my daily meditation and I asked if Shaboo was around. Quick as I thought it, I was back up on the cliff overlooking the valley and Shaboo was sitting beside me. This time when I reached down to touch her she was thick with fur, white and fluffy, with meat on her body. I was pleased. I asked, “Shaboo, what comes next?” She replied, “Well, that entire valley is yours if you want it.” I was so stunned that I didn’t say anything. I thought, ‘So how am I going to get down there?’ It wasn’t until a friend heard this story that I got fully in touch with the fact that I was so afraid of possibly being a successful writer that I buried this fear of claiming power over the valley, its people and what this could represent and instead focused on being unable to sit on the edge of the cliff and swing my legs. Shaboo said nothing else and I had to be content with what I got.

unspecified Roenock VA 1 19 2018That was a year and a half ago and Shaboo comes sometimes, especially if I ask her to come. One day she had started down toward the valley, but I guess she sensed that I was afraid, so she  sat down and said she’d wait until I was ready. Over the last few weeks she has come back up closer to the top. Today when I checked in with her she was sitting on a rock down about two feet from the top and would you believe she was polishing her nails? I don’t mean with the fingernail polish that humans use but with rubbing her foot across her chest hair and then blowing on the nails. Again, I didn’t ask but I can only imagine a coach waiting for a reluctant player to get up and get going. What do you suppose she was trying to tell me other than maybe that I need to lighten up a bit? She did look a little funny but I think she knew that. I think it is part of her plan. So what is her plan?

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Strange Behaviors Become Gifts

I have shared stories before about the designer of the cover of my book A Bird and BirdAndDragon_FrontCover_33the Dragon: Their Love Story: A Memoir. My granddaughter, Nicole, designed and executed that design when she was only 17 years old. But today having spent two days with Nicole before she goes back to college brought more stories bubbling into my mind. Nicole has an older brother Andrew and the two of them, when they were little, would spend time with my husband Sy and me when their mother, Felicia was working or when she and her then-husband needed some time alone. The particular evening I’m thinking about had Nicole at about 18 months and Andrew was almost 4. I had bathed the two of them and they were in their pajamas. Nicole had on a pink fleecy Onesie and was toddling about the bedroom. I had set up a warm steam vaporizer because they both had the sniffles. Now picture this; I’m talking to Andrew and suddenly I see Nicole, hand stretched out in front of her shuffling toward the vaporizer. I yelled but she kept moving toward the magical steam. I didn’t get to her in time and she blistered the center of her right hand. She screamed, I was beside myself, and we did all the things we knew to do to relieve her pain.  Believe me I had to do a lot of explaining to her mother the next day.

Because we had the children for part of every week, when it came holiday time-we

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Twenty years of washing and the art work has faded but Nicole’s other name is there with her age.

made Christmas gifts together for all the grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Nicole was only one and a half when I bought long sleeved jerseys and fabric crayons. I set her up on her knees on a chair at the kitchen table and let her go. She would balance the colors on one side of the jersey with the appropriate color on the other shoulder. I can remember being so amazed that I wrote her age on the bottom of the jersey before we wrapped them as gifts, and I still have mine.

Another thing I remember about Nicole is that she was always looking at herself in the mirror, examining her face and hair. Even today her sisters and her roommate complain that she is taking too much time in the bathroom because she’s looking at herself all the time. As a little girl, I was so afraid she was going to grow up to be a very vain young woman but that has not been the outcome.

Later, in Nicole’s growing up years we would get the order from her mother that it

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This was the beginning of the cleaning up the bedroom stage for Ashleigh Nicole.

was time to pick up her bedroom. Because Mom worked full time and my working hours were flexible, it fell to me to supervise this job. I soon learned that you could not just send Nicole off to straighten her bookcase or desk. She would get diverted and nothing would get done. Punishment had no effect so I started sitting with her and teaching her to start at one corner of her room and work her way around the room using her bed as a landing pad for the things that needed organizing. It took days to accomplish this job! I wondered why it took so long, so I started really watching and discovered that Nicole had to touch, or smell, or stroke whatever she picked up before she could make any decision about where it should go. You can believe my frustration as a grandmother who believes you picked up an object and you put it in its home.

Today, as we were having lunch I watched Nicole run her fingers around the top of

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This is what those sensitive hands can now do after years of self-teaching.

her ice tea glass and then it all made sense. On Tuesday she goes back to her second semester of her second year at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts in Old Lyme, Connecticut, where she is a sculpture major. Each behavior that seemed so strange at the time or just a quirk of nature was her efforts at self-teaching; texture, color, shadow and light, depth and height. During all of those years she was training those hands to caress clay until it grows into marvelous presentations.

I am so glad I did not express too much of my exasperation with her when she was a child although she does have an expression today, “My room is not Mother-clean it is Grandmother- clean!”

Do you have a young child that has strange behaviors? You might want to take a second look to see if perhaps these behaviors are really training exercise for a later time in their lives.

Little Blessings

I must confess I like to run to the computer on the first day of the month to see what homepage-video-hero@2x Susan Miller and Astrologyzone.com 1 4 2018.jpgSusan Miller, the astrologer behind Astrologyzone.com, has to say about the events for my life in the oncoming month. I’m looking for a romantic interest, some relief for money issues, and success for my writing. For instance I see that she states Wednesday the 13th is going to bring a break from the stress of money. Now a $10,000.00 sponsorship would allow me to get the next book into the publisher’s hands next month. I heave a sigh of relief and wait. Wednesday comes and goes. I think ‘Well it is only astrology. What can you expect?’ Then on Thursday a client calls and says she is stopping by to drop off the check she forgot to give me last week. That is very nice. Later in the afternoon, my daughter Annie drops by with the money for her portion of the Christmas gift for her nephew, my grandson Robbie, which we purchased on my credit card. That was $10.00. So now I’ve gained $40.00 in one day. But my first thought is ‘That’s it? That’s all I’m getting? Where are my big bucks that Susan promised?’ I go back to read her report and realize she didn’t say anything about a ‘large amount of money’ she only said there was financial relief coming.

I’m not sure if it is me or an American way of thinking that everything should be large. Gifts coming in should be substantial. I don’t think I think that way but here it images Big Money Coming In 1 4 2018is on paper—I expected a lot of money! Over the years, since my husband Sy died, I’ve had to wrestle with money as never before and I am solely responsible for success or failure. It has taken me time to come to grips with the fact that it isn’t about the big amount coming into my coffers; it is about being appreciative of what does come to me. Perhaps it is God’s test that if I can be content with the small things, time will bring me larger ones. Or perhaps this is just a lesson in accepting and being appreciative of whatever comes to me.

BirdAndDragon_FrontCover_33I’ve worked hard over these last three years to write a decent book, A Bird and the Dragon: Their Love Story: A Memoir; really a love story for adults. It is about my 35 year marriage to my second husband, Sy, and all our adventures with building a blended family of five teenage girls. (That’s what the hearts stand for on the family tree.) I was even able to get this book published. Now I’m learning the ins and outs of getting that book into the book stores and into the libraries. There is much more to the process than most people understand, including me. When Sy and I owned and ran Merlin Books the process of procuring books was very different then, and of course so many self-published books are flooding the market today. The powers that be have made it more difficult to get that book into the reader’s hands. But I’m learning. The biggest thing that I’m learning is that the gratitude for what I have accomplished and the gratitude for what I have gained is the important part of my life. So I’m suggesting that I need to be grateful for the little blessings and perhaps you are enough like me that you also need to stop and look at the small blessings in your life. It is a bit like all those tiny pieces of colored stone that are fitted together to make some of the of the most beautiful mosaic pictures, which have endured through the ages.

They say that if you show gratitude like this every day the good things start to come to you faster and on a regular basis. Want to build a lovely picture of your life with me? If you’d like more suggestions for a better life I recommend that you check out my website http://www.jessiemaykessler.com and find near the bottom of the first page my column excerpts from ‘Tidbits from the Couch.’

The Manger Story

As I look at my published book A Bird and the Dragon: Their Love Story: A Memoir I birdanddragon_frontcover_33realize that my first book, and all of my planned books, will be about relationships and the family. The family unit, its strength and weaknesses, hopefully its protection for all, and how it functions is so important to the mental and spiritual health of our peoples and our nation. This is my platform. I also in checking through my early blogs, find that I have used this story in a slightly different manner as one of my first blogs. It is engaging enough to use again at this season. I hope you agree.

Now let’s back up a bit. I was 22 and had married a minister, Rev. Harvard Lesser, whom you have met briefly in A Bird and the Dragon. I became steeped in the life and traditions of the church. That was fine with me. Previously I had been active in the church life of Shakerton, Massachusetts where I grew up. So I knew the stories and the customs of the church. One evening as a new bride I was washing dishes

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Sink Where I Learned the True Story of the Manger

in the parsonage kitchen sink while the Deacons of the church were in the adjoining  living room/dining room discussing the plans for the upcoming Christmas events. I heard one of the older Deacons say, “Well, if you’ve ever done any digging into the history behind the Christmas story you know it was made up by some of the early fathers of the church in order to keep the people enchanted and the masses under their control.” I was devastated. I stood there tears dripping into the soapy dishpan water. I never shared this with Harvard because I didn’t want to appear stupid, but I had just had the most beautiful part of my happiest season destroyed. It took me many years to come to something that could replace that information.

In the process of maturing, I have to take you back to the start; my first real encounter with the manger. This is an excerpt taken from my next book Sissy’s Story: Inside a Child’s Long Term Illness. This book is about when I was five years old and I was suffering with the cure at that time for rheumatic fever: six months of complete bed rest.

                       “Want to come down and watch us get the tree ready for Christmas?  Daddy was standing in the doorway of my bedroom. I couldn’t believe he had to ask!

                        “Yeah, sure, I want to come down!”

                        “He gathered me up, blanket and all, and we made the now familiar trip down  the stairs. This time at the bottom, turning to the right and walking across the entrance hall, Daddy stepped into the living room…..My eyes caught sight of the undressed, green Christmas tree stuck in the old, wooden, cross-shaped tree stand. It smelled so good! They’d moved the blue couch to the long outside wall across from the silent fireplace. The tree sat proudly in the back window, filling the room with its Christmas scent.

                        Daddy plumped the couch pillow. “There, you can coach all the decorating from here.”   .      .    .

                       Owen (my fourteen year old brother) opened the box containing the tiny nativity figures. “Sissy, where should we put the creche this year?”          

                        “I don’t know!” I said, surprised that he’d asked me. Owen usually made his own decisions. But I watched as he pulled Joseph and Mary out of the yellowing tissue paper. It was nice to have been asked.

                        “Here you hold Mary while I get the Kings out.” He handed me the tiny figure of a kneeling woman. She was painted in a soft blue, while her under-robe was a creamy white. I wondered, what’s it like to be Mother Mary—the mother of such a special person. It must be scary to be that important. I drew my fingers across the smooth plaster-of-Paris statue and my thoughts wandered on. What will it be like for me to be a mother someday? I’d like to be a mother.

                        “Here, I need that now. All the other figures are up.” Owen was reaching for the statue. I wanted to keep holding Mary, as if she were my promise of a future. I handed the statue to my brother, not quite releasing the figure into his hand. As we both held Mary, he looked at me for a split-second with a strange look. Then taking Mary, he set her into the scene he’d made under Mother’s sewing cabinet.

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This is the Manger Scene I Grew up With and the Mary that I Held for Owen

I have to tell you that when I was growing up my mother was very cautious about who and when we children got to touch this manger scene. I vowed that when I had a home of my own my children would be allowed to touch, handle, wander off with, and enjoy the manger in our home. When the time came to buy a set I chose a somewhat modern set made all of wood—strong, rugged, and enduring. A puppy of ours got to one of the shepherds and there was a whole year when we couldn’t find where baby Jesus was living. But somehow he did reappear for the next season.

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This is My Children’s Manger Scene You Can See the Shepherd and Kitten Chewed by the Dog

Now I bring you full circle, to where the manger scene came to life for me and gained new meaning. My oldest daughter Cora had just had her second child and we were all in the hospital to visit the new baby, Robbie. Cora’s daughter Candy, and Felicia’s daughter Nicole and son Andrew, were standing by the hospital bassinet inspecting the new baby as someone snapped a picture. There is the story in living color: the new baby, with all the promise of a new life–the wise men and the kings–or the aunts, uncles, and cousins in adoration of a new soul. This is the true meaning of the Manger Story for me.

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L to R : Candy, Nicole, Andrew and Baby Robbie in Bassinet

Wishing you all a happy holiday season and moments of real revelation!!

 

 

 

Oh, Christmas Tree

People are beginning to read and respond to my first book A Bird and the Dragon: BirdAndDragon_FrontCover_33Their Love Story: A Memoir. The reviews on Amazon.com are very positive so my message is seeping into the public consciousness. And, you ask me, what message is that?  I have to answer; families and the preciousness of the family unit whether it is conventional or modern, conceived or constructed. A family needs to be a safe place where everyone has a chance to grow and mature to the best of their talents: a retreat of sorts from the world. And surprisingly there is buried in there the message of mortality. Mortality is not just a Christian value. In my upbringing I was taught that as long as someone loves you and remembers your life you are indeed immortal.Scan_0018

So how does the Christmas tree figure into this message? Over the eons the evergreen tree has been used to symbolize the concept of eternal life. These trees never totally drop their foliage. Now to this we add the archetype of the mother as the nurturing center of the family (an archetype is a concept that is central to all peoples) and we get this picture of the green tree with roots well anchored into the earth and the foliage reaching to the blessings of water and light from above, the job of the father. The Christmas tree then becomes a fitting symbol to represent our need to believe in ongoing life at the time of year when in the northern hemisphere we have the least amount of natural light and depression can come knocking. The Christmas tree becomes a promise that life continues even in the darkness. Today we add electric lights to our trees and in the past the light came from candle light—another symbol of vitality.Scan_0019

Instead of talking about our family’s Christmas trees over the years I wanted to show them to you in a series of pictures. My daughters learned early on that their mother wanted the most pregnant looking tree she could find and my husband Sy never complained at the waiting for the perfect pick or for the weight of carrying the tree out of the forest. Once he did say, “You are aware that this tree is going to fill the living room?” Good old engineering mind—he was right! But with giggles and laughter we squeezed in around the tree for our holiday.Scan_0020

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Before the Addition to the Hopi Street House

As the children have grown older the trees have grown smaller and are stored in the closet when out of season. Time in a family moves on and now it is the grandchildren who come to help Grandmother (Me?) decorate the the artificial table-top tree.  The excitement, the fingering of the old ornaments, and the hot chocolate are just as great as they were in 1977!

 

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Markey Mark and Cara Cozy at Hopi Street House in Nerme, CT.

 

 

 

The Arms of a Quilt

Changing my clothes the other day, as I was getting ready for an evening out, I BirdAndDragon_FrontCover_33looked up at the quilt that hangs behind my bed. How beautiful it looks with all its tiny 2 x 2 squares of fabric. The colors are muted grays, browns, navy, with some red thrown in for good measure. Now parts of this quilt are well over a hundred years old. I know because my father had a hand in making it and he would be about one hundred and twenty years by now. Once again, you are asking how does that relate to anything in my first book, A Bird and the Dragon: Their Love Story: A Memoir? I start my book with telling you that my father was my first protector, and if you have already read my book you know that my second husband, Sy, took the job over from my father.

In 1900 my father, Frederick Sanderson, was about five years old and going to the

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The Elementary School in Shakerton, Massachusetts in 1900

local school in Shakerton, Massachusetts. He would have been a first grader and according to family stories he was not a very well-behaved little boy, at least not at school. My grandmother, Jessie, knew the cure for the problems taking place on the playground. I think as the youngest child in the Sanderson family my father might have felt the need to be a bit of a bully. Gramma Jessie packed his lunch one day along with a bundle of little cloth  2 x 2 squares, needle, thimble and thread. Freddie, (as my mother called him) was given instructions to go at lunch time around the corner to an aunt’s house to eat. When he was done he was to hand-stitch together a certain number of squares. I’m not sure how long it took him to get the message, but the finished piece I remember seeing as a little girl was about twelve by sixteen inches large.

When my mother married my father she inherited the patched-together start of a

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Aunt’s House Around the Corner on Haskell Street, Shakerton

quilt with the understanding that she would finish it someday. As I remember, it was packed into her Hope Chest and never saw the light of day again until my siblings and I were moving my mother into the senior housing in Shaker Meadows, Shakerton, Massachusetts. At that point my mother took the pieces still wrapped in yellowing tissue paper and handed them to my older sister PollyAnne. “Here, you do something with this. I’ve had it all these years and have never gotten to finishing it into a full-sized quilt.” My sister, somewhat stunned, took the package without saying anything. The silence was because Polly was the cook in our family and I was the seamstress. But no matter, that was how my mother decided to solve her problem.

Now fast-forward to the week when Sy and I were celebrating our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. We had chosen to drive south and spend that week with my sister PollyAnne and her husband Bud. As we were sharing breakfast on February 25th, my sister brought out this large package and laid it on the chairs beside us. “Before I give this to you I need to tell you a story,” she said.

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PollyAnne and her Husband Bud

I knew that PollyAnne and her husband did a monthly meditation group for people in their corner of Tennessee. Polly had talked before about some of the members. But this time she said, “One day in our discussions we got to talking about quilts and I brought out the pieces of Daddy’s old quilt. Janet, [I’ll call her that in this story.] put her hands on the quilted pieces of fabric and started to talk. ‘This was stitched together by your father when he was a little boy. There was something about a punishment. Oh, and he had an older sister Bertha whom he adored. So sad, she passed away in the flu epidemic of the First World War. But you know, underneath the misbehavior of your father, there was a very sweet little boy. Do let me take this home and finish it for you, as I am a master quilter.’”

Then my sister nodded for us to unwrap the package. “We want you to have this quilt to mark your twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.” In the wrappings was this lovely and lovingly finished quilt in many soft shades of gray, brown, and navy. Janet had added the reds here and there to give the necessary vibrancy to the quilt. My sister didn’t have to tell me that most of the muted colors were from fabrics taken from the dresses and shirts of members in my father’s family. All of the old quilts of that era were made to use up the last bits of clothing that could no longer be mended.

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This is My Quilt with Loving Arms

So as I fall asleep at night, especially on lonely nights, I think about all those people who contributed to the quilt and then I feel their arms reaching out and their loving energy encircling my bed. Would you believe that the section of the quilt just above my head with its not-so-straight seams is the part that my father stitched at five years of age? I thank my father, Janet, my sister and her husband, my ancestors, and Sy for still being my warm protectors; for creating a safe place for me to inhabit.

 

 

Thanksgiving Through the Years

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L to R: Daughters Annie, Elizabeth, Felicia, the back of my uncle Ralph Moody’s head, my back, and my mother, Jordan Elizabeth, partially covered by my head

I am in the midst of preparing a small feast for daughter Annie and her husband Steve. The other three girls that are close by are off to other homes. It is such a busy week there isn’t time to really write a blog but I wanted to share pictures of our family Thanksgivings over the years. This is a picture of my first Thanksgiving with Sy and his girls. We are at my mother’s home in Shakerton, Massachusetts.

 

 

The next picture is the other half of that Thanksgiving table and the only picture I

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My brother Coppy is at the head of the table with Aunt Agnes beside him

have of my father’s cousin, Aunt Agnes. She had no children and therefore was often the life of the party.  She brought Fannie Farmer mint candies for the children. To this day usually one of my daughters shows up for the feast with some mint candies. The original company went out of business years ago.

There are few pictures with Sy included, because he was usually behind the camera. The next Thanksgiving Dinner picture is taken at our first house The

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L to R: Daughters Elizabeth, Cora, and Annie, brother Coppy, my mother Jordan Elizabeth, Felicia, Sy’s father-in-law Grampa Joe, and myself JessieMay

Ugly Green house in the Green Trees section of Nerme, CT. We are around thatBirdAndDragon_FrontCover_33 famous family table which you will read about in A Bird and the Dragon: Their Love Story: A Memoir. Do read chapter twenty-one ‘Learning to Listen’ and you’ll understand my comment about the dinning room table.

I have no Thanksgiving pictures before I met Sy because when I left Harvard Lesser he kept all the family pictures. He has since given back a few but none of the Thanksgivings. Maybe I wasn’t so thankful back then.

100_0217A.jpgThe next pictures I do have are of Thanksgiving in the Annabelle house in Nerme. And by now that little girl called Felicia in the first pictures has become the extended family baker. There are several pictures of her legendary pies. She didn’t get that 100_0798.jpgfrom me.

I do hope your Thanksgiving holiday was filled with fun, family and a chance to catch up with your loved ones. Do any of your holiday dinners look like these? If you wish to hear more of these stories or know more about my books go to my website at http://www.jessiemaykessler.com.

 

 

 

When All Else Fails Cook and Clean

It has been a good journey
Markey Mark

As a semi-retired therapist and writer I don’t always have to get up at the crack of dawn. So on days like today when the rain is pouring down and my brain says I have more things to do than I can handle, I pull the covers back over my head and think ‘I hope the dog can wait a little longer to go out and then have her breakfast.’ Cara Cozy, bless her soul, did wait and my leg pain got to the point where I had to get up, so here I am. Part of the resistance to rising this morning is the fact that my mischief-maker dog, Markey Mark, died last year on the 19th of November

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Husband Sy Kessler

and my beloved husband, Sy died four years ago on November 20th.  In this year’s terms that is next Sunday and Monday, and all I could think about to write is the sadness revisited. None of you want to hear that again. So it was up and wandering aimlessly around until I settled at the kitchen table with my pendulum. I listed off the things that needed to be done and then asked which tasks for today. It said write your blog and it said go cook. What a combination!

I’m hosting a small Thanksgiving Feast this year since three of my girls have commitments in other homes and that is as it should be. But Annie and Steve will be with me for a late afternoon dinner. In this last year I’ve moved my diet from gluten-free to Paleo and that is going to mean some tweaking of the traditional foods. That was what my guides were talking about when they said, ‘Go practice some of those changes to see if they will pass muster with your daughter and her husband.’ So how does that fit with writing a blog about my first book, A Bird and the Dragon: Their Love Story: A Memoir?”

When I was a teenager and deep in the midst of boyfriends and all the emotional angst that goes along with that, one of them broke up with me. Can you believe that? I was heartbroken and my mother, Jordan Elizabeth in my book, saw me dragging around believing that my life had been destroyed and didn’t say much until I finally came to her with my pain. She listened to my woe and devastation. She told me she

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My Mother Jordan Elizabeth Sanderson

was sorry that this had happened to me and then she said words that have held me together for all of these years of ups and downs. “You know we women are so lucky, for when the world falls apart, we can go clean house until we are exhausted and then we sleep. Or we can go to the kitchen and cook. Men don’t seem to have that option.” (Well, I know today they do, but this was in the mid-1950’s.) In later years just to reinforce her message, she had a sign on her kitchen counter that read, ‘When all else fails, eat!!’ That little sign is sitting on the decorative turntable on my kitchen island. (Yes, and these days weight wise I have to be careful not to take it literally.)

Not too many years ago my grandson Andrew came to me with a similar heartache and wanted direction and comfort. “You can do the same thing that my mother said to me. You can clean.”

“Well, how would I do that?” He asked.

“There is a Swifter in my cleaning closet and you can get it out and start picking up all of the Cara Cozy hair that is covering my floors.”

“Nah! I couldn’t do that and besides that’s girls’ work.” (See some of those stereotypes die hard.) I’m not sure if he has grown old enough to see the folly in his response. But if you are one of those types of men, there are still rocks to pound, sports to play, or doing something kind for someone else. The point is to feel those painful feelings while putting that energy to some use.

And now to the Paleo part of the cooking lesson. There are many programs out there images Paleo Diet Book 11 16 2017 - Copyon the computer to teach you how to convert to a Paleo diet–basically meat, vegetables, fruit, with little sugar. There are many good recipe books to help you get started. The reason for the conversion is that a gluten-free diet usually substitutes rice flour or a combination of grain flours in recipes, which are highly hypoglycemic. In other words it damages your intestines, stimulates your desire for sweets, and puts weight onto the body. One of the programs that I am using is Paleo Hacks and some of their cookbooks.

So, now having walked you through my day and how I handle some of my grief, I’m off to make that Paleo pie crust which uses nut flours and coconut sugar instead of what you are used to using. Happy cooking and a very happy Thanksgiving!!

The Body of an Abused Woman

BirdAndDragon_FrontCover_33Those of you who have been to one of my lectures or read my first book, A Bird and the Dragon: Their Love Story: A Memoir know that I leave my first husband, Rev. Harvard Lesser right at the start of the book. And I give little explanation. The reason for leaving was the physical and emotional abuse I suffered in that thirteen-year marriage.

Let’s move forward forty years to today. I told you last week that I was having physical therapy done to help with the pain of spinal stenosis and the gradual forward thrust of my shoulders. This morning my therapist, Stacy, stood me up back to her, as she usually does, and put her hands on my head. “Oh,” she said, “Your back is calling me to this mid-section of the spine,” and she touched my back. It hurt. “Get up on my table.”

Stacy put her hands in several places and asked questions mostly about my sense of

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Physical Therapist working in Similar Fashion to Stac

personal security and the fact that it was shaken when I was five-years-old and was whisked off to a hospital for observation. At the time my mother didn’t explain anything about why I was going and then she had the nerve to leave me there alone. It has been a big issue for me over the years. But Stacy and I have worked a lot on this scenario.Suddenly she said to me, “And who is all this anger for? Is it for your mother?”

To my surprise I blurted out, “No, it belongs to Harvard.”

Stacy responded, “Okay, talk to me about that anger–no rage–that you have locked

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Left to Right Daughter, Elizabeth, Jessie, Daughter. May, Harvard, Daughter, Felicia

into your body.” Before I could really think I was telling Stacy about being on the highway with Harvard and our three girls. I was reading the road map and he was trying to follow his brother’s car on the New Jersey Turnpike. I was to look for the turn off where we would part company with his brother. So now I’m reading the road map, watching the car ahead, and looking at the road signs for the turn off. I missed the turn and said so. Harvard reached across the front seat with the back of his hand, now curled into a fist, and threw a punch into my solar plexus area. I could hardly catch my breath. Our oldest daughter, May, in the way-back of the station-wagon, yelled, “Don’t do that! You can’t do that to my Mommy!”

Needless to say, that has festered for many years because at the time there really was nothing I could do to address the insult to my body or to my sense of myself. By now you have likely recognized that I had become afraid of Harvard over the years.

Stacy immediately moved to the center of my body with her hands and said, “Just as I thought. You have developed what we call an energy cyst to protect that area and it is pulling on the spine and crowding organs around it. It is time to let go of this mass.”

Next she said, “How can you re-picture that event so that it is not so traumatic?”

I couldn’t think of a single re-picture that would be right and so I was silent. Stacy held her position with her hands for a bit and then moved to another place on my body. “You know, Jessie, at some point you need to let go of this. How can we help you let go of this event?”

The best answer I could give her was that I would have to work on it over time. And I

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“Gotta Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair” Song from Movie South Pacific

will. The use of my spinal column and legs is far more important than holding onto my martyr-complex.

But I’m sharing all of this because I think we women do not realize how badly we are compromised when there is abuse to our bodies, be it physical, sexually or emotional. For women our bodies are really our temples to house the soul. You can see from this story that I’ve carried this wound around with me for years and now, as I age, it is catching up with me. Time to wash that man right out of my hair!! You too must find a way to put words or healthy actions to your bodily insults and wash them out of your life. As Stacy says, “Let it go!!!”

Finding the Hummocks in the Swamp

For real! You don’t know what a hummock is? Well for those of you city ratsBirdAndDragon_FrontCover_33 unlike we country mice; a hummock is a low hill, or actually a mound of earth and grass in the swamp, and there are many of them, so you can cross some swamps on the hummocks. This is the way wild deer cross the swamps. But none of that information is in A Bird and the Dragon. You have to wait for my future book Sissy’s Story.

When you get to read my second or third book you will hear about my father having the “Saturday Afternoon Duty” so that my mother could have a few minutes to herself. My Dad was an outdoorsman, a landscaper, and a hunter so my Saturday afternoons were spent out in the woods. When it was summer

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Like Our Blueberry Swamp

and time to go pick the wild blueberries he’d take me out into the blueberry swamp and show me the hummocks. Then he’d say, “Now look for the hummocks and test them before you step on one. Some of them give way and will float off. If they are too far apart call to me and I’ll carry you to the next one.” You can imagine how safe I felt with this knowledge that even in a swamp there were safe places and my father would see that I found them.

I was talking to a friend this morning and referred to him as a hummock in my life’s swamp. He wasn’t sure if that was a compliment but indeed it was. It meant that he came into my life at a time when I needed the qualities that he carries in his personality. There have been so many times in my life when I felt I had no idea where I should look to find the next place that was safe to stand upon. And so many times it has been a person that I needed.

So how do these people get to you at the right time?  This happens by asking in

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Crystal Pendulum with a Bale

prayer, making a manifestation request, and for me it is taking out my pendulum and going through a list of names, articles or places. Now you are scratching your head about a pendulum. I’ve talked about them before. The ones I like best are made from quartz crystal points. The best ones are bound with some metal and fashioned with a bale so that the crystal is not pierced in any way that might interfere with the energy flow of the crystal. Or the pendulums my sister PollyAnne makes for me are wrapped in copper wire, copper being one of the best

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Crystal Pendulum with Wire Wrap

conductors of energy. These pendulums work well because quartz has a vibration that is compatible with the human vibration and therefore it receives and transmits a wave length that is easier for us to comprehend. We already have inside our heads all the information that we need. Or if we doubt this, we can open ourselves to the greater world and receive information into our brains from our spirit guides, a higher power or for some, from God. The crystal will pick up this information and relay it making our answer visible to us by how the pendulum swings when we ask our questions.

Many years ago I had been using a dog groomer and one time when I got my dog home there were wounds on her body. I didn’t want to confront the groomer but I certainly wasn’t taking my dog back, so I went to the telephone book with my pendulum at the ready and I went through the list of groomers until I found one that the pendulum motioned ‘yes’ to in such a vigorous way that I put the book up. Next day I tried the pendulum again. Once again it was very excited about this particular groomer. We took the long drive to the facility and have been there for over ten years.

I’ve also used the pendulum to find a doctor for my husband, Sy, when he was still with me. I’ve used my pendulum to choose between two situations that could have made me happy; which was the best for me. Once we were in Quechee, Vermont at the glass blower Simone Peirce’s store and I wanted a poncho. There were two different colors to choose from but which would be right for me? The pendulum made short work of that confusion and I was delighted with the choice.

If you are doing some sort of food plan you can use the pendulum to show which

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Which Foods are Healthy for You?

foods are good for you, because what may be good for the instructor of the plan may not be good for your particular body chemistry.

Some people have such a strong sense of their intuition they don’t need a tool like a pendulum to tell them what is right for them, but I’m not one of those people, so it is like having my father there, my way of knowing what is safe or best for me as I struggle through the swamps of my life.

Have you discovered any hummocks in your life’s journey? It is a bit like finding the rocks in the river but finding the hummocks is more of a being stopped or overwhelmed and then you see the way to go. I’d love to hear your stories.