Being LOVE

 

“Every moment is an invitation…an opportunity…to be your authentic self.  To be LOVE.

It is a choice…until it is not.

Until it is not, when you realize there is no choice but to be what you are…LOVE…simply practice by remembering that in every moment you have a choice to be LOVE or not.  Choosing to be LOVE means choosing to exemplify the qualities, or attributes, of LOVE.  In order to become truly masterful at this, it is important to practice in every conscious moment.

Practice ESPECIALLY when it is EASY.  These qualities are like muscles.  The more you use them, the stronger they grow and the more powerful they become in your life in revealing your True Nature to both yourself…and the world.”  ~ Joy Ayscue

“THRIVE” Panel  

February, 2013

 

My Life is But a Weaving…

What is a spiritual entrepreneur?

What does it take to create something new?

The poem, “The Weaver”, often attributed to Corrie Ten Boom, but also to Benjamin Malachi Franklin keeps coming to mind when I contemplate the above questions.

“My life is but a weaving

between my Lord and me…”

 

yarn

 

A vision of a great, sturdy, beautifully crafted loom.

The warp already set with infinite precision and skill.

The waiting weft an endless store of rainbow hued threads.

My little willingness to begin the work enough.

As I weave I am surrendered to a forgotten and beloved rhythm and flow

and beneath and through my hands a master piece is revealed.

….that is how being a spiritual entrepreneur feels to me.  That I am surrendered to this process of aligning my will with that of The Divine for the purpose of allowing the full, unique expression of that Oneness.

And, that is how something truly new is created.

Healing in the Highlands

Bob and Joy’s Epic Road Trip Adventures

Grayson Highlands

 

We had thought we’d have to cancel our plans for the second time in a row, but there we sat under a thick canopy of multi-hued green, listening to the wind sweep through the leaves. We had finally made it.  Back at the end of March we had planned our first getaway in a year and had reservations at Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia. Three days before we were due to leave I had my heart attack/opening and we had to cancel.  Fast-forward 3 months, and we were ready for another try.  Bob once again made our reservations (highly recommended, by the way) and we were really looking forward to a long weekend away,  especially to tent camping together for the first time. A week before our departure date, our 21 year old cat Isaac began a rapid deterioration in his health and once again we wondered if we’d need to put our plans on hold.

But now, we were here.  And here was beautiful.

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Grayson Highlands State Park, Mouth of Wilson, Virginia.  Mouth of Wilson!  I love that name!  TripAdvisor.com lists 2 things to do and 1 restaurant for MOW.  It is TINY!  The park’s campground is about 12 miles further down the road with only one store/grill in-between, so if you need any food or other supplies, make sure to stop on your way in.  (The campground does have a camp store that is surprisingly well stocked with decent prices, too.) The Log House Trading Post and Restaurant has a fairly good supply of basics, their food is good for the price and they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Do not plan to buy your gas there, though…they were charging $2.87 per gallon while other gas stations in the area were between $1.99 and $2.19.  A bit further down the road toward the campground is the Grayson Highlands General Store and Inn, which surprised us with its huge selection of gourmet and gluten free foods.  It also has a grill/restaurant , which we did not get to try but did see one of the park rangers getting her lunch there, so that is a good sign of good food…I always like to find out where the locals eat.  (I don’t know why it’s not listed on TripAdvisor…I would review it, but since we didn’t eat there, don’t feel qualified. We did get a cup of coffee to go, which was very fresh and tasty.)

Note:  If you are a smoker, stock up on your cigarettes before you get into the area…we didn’t see anywhere that sold any for miles around…

On to the campground!

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The Virginia State Parks System has been voted #1 in the country, (so say the signs posted here and there…) and I can understand why if Grayson Highlands is typical of their offerings.  I found its facilities and services to be very comparable to its not too far neighbor, Shenandoah National Park.  The campsites were well placed with adequate space in-between so you didn’t feel like you were right on top of your neighbors, the bathrooms/showers were always clean and I never had to wait for either, the camp store was handy dandy for little things we might have forgotten, the camp host came around to welcome us and offer us wood AND ICE for sale ($5.00 per wood bundle which included great kindling, $2.50 for ice) and the campground itself was QUIET!

We needed that quiet after the week we had just had.  To lay there at night and hear only the wind in the trees was literally Heaven. (I guess the elevation is too high for crickets and tree frogs…we heard not a peep or chirp the whole time we were there!)

The first evening we got our campsite set up …

campsite GH

(There’s my honey ♥ )

…and we prepared and ate our first ever together tent camping meal!

our first meal

Everything really does taste better when you are outside in nature!

The next day we began exploring, beginning with the park’s Visitor Center

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The wildflowers outside were spectacular!

Inside, we found a treasure trove!  A combination museum, gift shop and information desk.

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The old pictures give a fascinating glimpse of how life used to be in these hills.  The gift shop was wonderfully stocked with a combination of hand-made items and other souvenirs, which gave me a dilemma… which to pick as my material memory of our time spent there.  I carefully looked over everything and finally made my selection on our last day there…

GH PONY SHOES

What better memento to remember the wild ponies (and my time with my honey) than a heart made of horse-shoes!  (Although I don’t think the wild ponies actually wear shoes!)

The wild ponies!  The ponies are how Bob sold me on Grayson Highlands, in the very beginning!  But, we’ll get to them in just a bit!

After visiting the visitor’s center, we headed out to find the “Old Homestead”.  And, we got lost.  Wonderfully, beautifully, lost.

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We ended up taking a trail that we mistook for another.  We thought it was going to be 3/10ths of a mile…it ended up being quite a bit more.   We kept walking and walking.  We saw no-one.  We heard no sounds, other than nature.  No engine noise, no voices, no nothing but birdsong and our breath.  It was awesome!

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Here we are…loving being lost…together

bob and joy lost

We finally came to the end of the trail and found the “Old Homestead”, a collection of preserved old buildings along with a picnic shelter (a wedding was setting up at the time.)

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We headed back to our campsite for some quiet and reading time (I started and completed Stephen King’s newest “End of Watch” over the weekend) and resumed our explorations the next day with…

The Wild Ponies of Grayson Highlands!

Or, rather, our search for said ponies!  We had been told and read that the best trail to see them on was the Rhododendron Trail, also known as Massie Gap.  We set out around 10:30 that morning and at the trail head, we found what I call a “teaser” pony.  He was all by his lonesome but he was enough of an appetizer for us to want to see more, for sure!

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So, we hiked on!

Up and up…

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No ponies…

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We registered…with a bit of reservation…what were we getting ourselves into?  We are absolutely NOT experienced hikers and this was telling us they needed to know who and how many were in our party…just in case…

We saw signs of ponies…

but still no ponies.  THEN THIS HAPPENED…

 

No one told us Grayson Highlands had long horned cattle!  They came, one at a time at first, then they were all around us!

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Mama’s, babies and this magnificent beauty…

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He was about 3 feet away from me and I have to admit, I scooted myself behind a tree for possible safety!

Onward and upward we continued…

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All the way to the top!

I can’t begin to tell you how amazing it felt to stand up there on the top of that mountain!  I felt stronger and more connected to my body than I had in years…possibly my whole life.  Not once did I think about my heart and how, not too many months ago, it tried to stop on me.  Not once did I think I couldn’t make it to the top.  I felt powerful and confident, sure and balanced.  Thinking back on it, I realized this…I felt this way because I was with my husband, my beloved Bob.  It was being in his calm, centered, loving presence that lent me that invincible feeling of being able to do anything.  Thank you, honey.  You ROCK! (pun intended!…see the pic?  see the ROCK?!)

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Then, it was down, down, down the mountain.  Going down was much easier, by the way 🙂

We were almost to the trail head and had given up on seeing any of the wild ponies that are such a draw to this state park.  Bob was a bit ahead of me, as usual…I tend to stop and take a ton of pictures, then run to catch up…

“PONIES! PONIES!”

I heard him shout at me and then THIS!

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AND THIS & THIS & THIS!

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They were literally close enough to touch!  In fact, some people did.  Which, they weren’t supposed to (see sign above).  There are reasons for the no-touching/petting/feeding the ponies, folks.  I know it’s hard not to…believe me, I had to struggle to keep my own hands to myself…the temptation was HUGE.  But, really, if you let your kids touch the ponies, what are you teaching them?  That it’s OK to indulge their impulses and break the rules that are there to protect not only the ponies but the humans, as well (the ponies DO kick and DO bite.)  Not a really great way to help your child to learn respect for nature, is it?  Bob did get his own little close encounter, however…as he was standing on the trail watching the ponies go by, he felt something and looking down, saw a tiny baby pony walk right between his legs!  I wish I had a picture of THAT!

The next day we headed out for an afternoon in Damascus, Virginia, “Trail Town, USA.”

It was a good little drive…about 26 miles of twisty, turny mountain roads…which took about 45 minutes.

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Damascus is a scenic little town (population 814) and is the home of the annual Trail Days Festival. The Trail Days Festival began in 1987 with just a few hundred people and has grown to host over 20,000 hikers and nature lovers each May.

The town is known as Trail Town USA due to the meeting of  several picturesque  trails in the town, including the Appalachian Trail, U.S. Bicycle Route 76, The Iron Mountain Trail,  the Virginia Creeper Trail, the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail (a driving route) and the Crooked Road Musical Heritage Trail (another driving route.)

The Virginia Creeper Trail is a 34 mile long mountain biking trail and a good part of the businesses in Damascus seem to be dedicated to renting bikes and shuttling folks from one point to another along the trail.  We didn’t have time to participate, but from what we saw, a lot of others did, and it looked like they were having a great time.

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The Virginia Creeper Trail

We walked around the park for a while…

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…drove around town and admired the beautiful homes…

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…found a place to eat (I had the chicken wings…they were yummy!)…

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…and finished up with some awesome ice cream!

We definitely want to return to Damascus to continue exploring all it has to offer…I want to check out the horseback riding, and an antique and vintage store by the name of Missing Pieces, Hippy Chick Recycled Art, and Mojo’s Trailside Cafe, which looks absolutely amazing and has awesome reviews on Trip Advisor! I’ve got to admit, I did not do my due diligence before we headed out for Damascus by checking Trip Advisor, and look at all we missed!

We’ll also be returning to camp at Grayson Highlands.  There are so many more trails to hike and we missed driving to the top of Whitetop Mountain, which is famous for it’s vistas and sunsets. Maybe we’ll go in May, when the Mt. Rogers Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad puts on its annual Ramp Festival, offering a day of fun-filled activities, arts and crafts, food and music to the community.  They also have a Maple Festival in April and a Molasses Festival in October!

I’m glad we decided to take our grief over Isaac to the mountains.  Getting away together, away from the home Isaac had been born in and lived for 21 years, away from the place where he was now buried was exactly what we needed and the Highlands was perfect for our healing.

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If words could bruise…

If words could bruise

I bruise extremely easily these days.  In fact, due to the blood thinners I now take, (post Heart Opening/Attack) I am literally covered in black and blue.  We’ve even had fun taking Sharpie’s to them, creating temporary little works of art.  I’m not self-conscious about them at all, so it surprised me the other day when a friend asked me, totally not joking, if my husband was beating me.

Of course not!  In fact, most often, I don’t even remember how I got them.  I’ve frequently thought, after finding a new one, “You can look at me the wrong way and I’ll bruise.” This is exactly what I said to my friend when explaining why I looked like I’d been abused.

Which reminded me that I had been musing over writing this piece, and had not yet done it.

This piece about what we, humanity, would look like if words could bruise.

And then, as I so often do, I let the thought slip away to join all of the other ideas uselessly floating around in the ethers of my mind that I have not put into writing.

Fast-forward a few days and my procrastination slapped me…and someone I love…in the face.  You see, when I want to remember something, I really do need to write it down.  Names, shopping items, phone numbers, epiphanies, life lessons, thoughts …my memory benefits from seeing whatever it is in print.  I guess, whatever it is, becomes im-PRINTED on my brain.

But, I didn’t write them down. They thus slipped my mind and I ended up allowing unconscious words to exit my mouth and one of the people I love most in this world ended up getting hurt.

Words do bruise.  Like real bruises, they often linger for a while…reminders of the actual injury.  And sometimes, they are more painful than the injury itself.

I did not intend for my words to hurt.  I actually had no intentions for my words, at all.  They were an unconscious, knee-jerk reaction, lubricated by an irritable mood and most importantly, NOT protected by my proven prophylactic practice, Khooba/Rakmah.

Basically…VERY basically…Khooba and Rakmah are filters that you put into place over your intentions and perceptions, kind of like safety nets.  Think of what a filter can do: It can remove something unwanted (think fish tank)…or, it can enhance something, as used in photography.

Even more simply, these filters Khooba and Rakmah are LOVE.

To tap into the power of these words, we use them as an intention, a chosen mind-set, to set a “love filter” over all that we perceive, including all of our perceptual memories, (Khooba) as well as one over all of our words and actions, (Rakmah).

Here’s how I do it:

When I catch myself in any mind-set other than loving, I stop for a minute or two…in fact, even a few seconds will suffice in most instances…and on my in-breath, I breathe in “Khooba”.  On my exhale, I breathe out “Rakmah”.

It’s that easy.

IN:  Khoobaaaaaaaaaaaa

OUT:  Rakmahhhhhhhhhh

IN:  Khoobaaaaaaaaaaaaa

OUT:  Rakmahhhhhhhhhhh

And,  honestly, it works.  It works so well, in fact,  I think that if this were my only spiritual practice, it would be quite enough.

Try it and let me know how it works for you!

In LOVE!

Joy

(For a more in-depth explanation of these two powerful filters and how they can positively affect our realities, read this:  www.whyagain.com/FAQ/Rakhma_Khooba.pdf ) (Or, check out Dale Allen Hoffman’s work here:  https://www.daleallenhoffman.com/, as he is the one who gave me the gift of this amazing practice. Also take a look at this interpretation from “Enlightenment”   by the Yonan Codex Foundation in which the Khabouris (or Khaboris) Manuscript is translated from its original Aramaic into English. 

 

 

 

A Good Death

How my mind works…

Have you ever taken a look at your internet search history?

Mine is a sort of map of how my mind works. Lately, both my search history and my mind have been filled with death. 

It started with mortality definition which led to mor spirit…to mor definition to prefix to prefix mor to creator etymology to prefix im to  immortal etymology to In & Im – English to mortality song to Top 10 Songs about Death

this immediately followed by a totally different tangent prompted by the prefix Im…

Image definition, reflection etymology, what light can do, properties of light, reflect etymology, image etymology and then

alternatives to cat litter, chicken scratch as cat litter and purina laying crumbles  (it works!)  (talk about tangents!)

over the next few days, the following…

distraction etymology

empty etymology

empty definition

black and white spotted moth

moth symbolism

what is flash fiction?

measurement of juice of one lime

what to do for a toothache

ibuprofen for heart patients ok?

sacred touch

grayson highlands

cat clock with twitching tail

how to teach your puppy or dog to stop chewing

graham cooke crafted prayer

dale allen hoffman

paratrooper etymology

A few days and a few hundred searches later…

cat hospice care

death midwifery

death doula pet

International End of Life Doula Association

Broth for cats

how to help your cat die peacefully

signs

letting pets die at home

what is the dying behavior of cats

is it inhumane to allow your cat to die naturally?

euthanasia etymology

Isaac etymology

Name meaning Isaac

 

“Here’s Your Sign!”

Our animals communicate with us in many ways.

The decision was hard…but it wasn’t.  We had had almost a week of preparation and we spent it wisely.  We loved on Isaac.  Even more than usual.  In so many ways.  Mostly, we celebrated him and thanked him for his life.  We also let him know that even though we wanted him to stay with us forever, it was OK for him to let go if he was ready. We asked him to please, please let us know…somehow…some way.

And, he did.

We had put everything on hold as we attended to Isaac that week, including our plans for a long weekend in the mountains, our first get away together in over a year.  Although Megan would have been home to watch and care for him most of our time away, we wanted to be with Isaac through his transition, if he was going to transition (remember, he had experienced these episodes multiple times previously, and had come back from what we had thought was the brink of death, so we were actually hopeful…) no matter how it played out. We had cancelled this trip before (I had my heart attack/opening the week we were supposed to go) and would do it again.

Our hope was that, if he was going to go, he would simply slip away peacefully in his sleep.  He was comfortable, his breathing was not labored and when awake (he slept…a lot) he showed no signs of fear or anxiety.

Here is a very good article on the ABC’s of letting your pet die at home, from The Daily Vet Blog

On letting pets die at home…and the ABCs of doing it right

So we waited.  And we watched.  And, we loved.  Out loud.

“Isaac.”  “Isaac.”  “Isaac.”  “We love you.”

He (and all pets, really…all the time…) loved hearing his name.

He purred.

Wednesday night, the night before the day we would need to cancel our campsite reservations if we decided not to go, Isaac gave us our first sign that he was ready.  I was laying in bed with him cuddled on my chest, scratching his head and chin as he enjoyed so much…running my hand gently down his suddenly bony back and sides.  Suddenly, I felt a warm wetness and carefully setting him aside, I saw that he had lost control of his bladder.  I almost cried.  He was such a proud and majestic cat…he would “rather have died” than to let that happen.

Later that evening, after we cleaned up the bed and placed protective coverings on it, Bob had Isaac on his chest…doing their usual pre-bed-time snuggling, and I took this picture of them:

Isaac and Bob

Until I saw the picture that night, I (and, I think Bob, too), literally did not have the eyes to see with how … depleted … Isaac had become.  I saw the picture and instantly thought of a heart-breaking thread I had read when researching pet death.  The young woman had refused for 8 months to see what was so obvious to everyone else…that her beloved companion had become little more than skin and bones…wasted away from a life-long disorder which she had nursed him through for years…even to the point of carrying him everywhere he had to go for over a year.  It wasn’t until she saw a picture of him taken on the day that he died that she realized how “selfish” (her words) had been by putting his comfort second to her desire to have him stay with her for as long as possible.

That was our second sign.  Even though Isaac was still jumping on and off furniture, and would still eat a bit (sometimes even a lot) every few hours, and was still drinking well, the picture was proof that we could not deny.  His body wasn’t processing nutrients and he was wasting away.  Our loving eyes just had not perceived what was fact.

A Good Death

The decision.

euthanasia (n.) Look up euthanasia at Dictionary.com
1640s, “a gentle and easy death,” from Greek euthanasia “an easy or happy death,” from eu- “good” (see eu-) + thanatos “death” (see thanatology) + abstract noun ending -ia. Slightly earlier in Englished form euthanasy (1630s). Sense of “legally sanctioned mercy killing” is recorded in English by 1869.
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=euthanasia

Isaac gave us our third, and final sign deep in the middle of that night.  I laid awake, watching over Bob and Isaac as they slept.  Around 2:30, Isaac awoke and before I could stop him, jumped off of the bed and began staggering down the hallway then went into a seizure.  Thankfully, it didn’t last long and besides weakening and making him a bit confused, he shortly seemed pretty much the same as pre-seizure. But for me, I knew it was him putting punctuation marks on his previous two signs.  We had hoped we could give him the gift of passing from this existence to the next at home, where he was familiar with, where he was most loved and where we could alone with him in our grief, but not at the expense of his comfort.

Isaac and I got back into bed and he slept while I waited for morning.

comfort (v.) Look up comfort at Dictionary.com
late 13c., conforten “to cheer up, console,” from Old French conforter “to comfort, to solace; to help, strengthen,” from Late Latin confortare “to strengthen much” (used in Vulgate), from Latin com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + fortis “strong” (see fort). Change of -n- to -m- began in English 14c. Related: Comforted; comforting.
comfort (n.) Look up comfort at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, “feeling of relief” (as still in to take comfort in something); also “source of alleviation or relief;” from Old French confort (see comfort (v.)). Replaced Old English frofor. Comforts (as opposed to necessities and luxuries) is from 1650s.
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=comfort

The decision was obvious in my mind and heart, but Isaac was Bob’s baby…they had been together for over 21 years and I knew Bob needed to have the final say.  When he woke that morning, I told him about the seizure and we agreed that we did not want to risk Isaac going into another, possibly longer, scarier and more painful seizure, or any number of other difficulties that can occur as animals pass naturally.

Isaac window last day

 

Isaac’s last morning was filled with sunlight, kitty companionship and lots and lots of human love.  At one point my intuition guided me to offer to Bob to take Isaac for his last visit alone.  I had initially been so relieved that he was off of work…that I would not have to face this by myself, but all of a sudden realized that it was too painful for Bob to face and that I could gift him this solice.

It wasn’t easy.  It never is.  But it was the right thing to do for Isaac, and although I am an advocate for and prefer natural home death for both pets and humans, I would do it again.

If you are struggling to make “The Decision”, please know that if you follow your heart, there is no “right” or “wrong” and most importantly, that your beloved fur child knows you love them…and love you right back.

And, that doesn’t end.

Isaac and Bob2

very_tiny_red_heart_animISAAC

1995 – 2016

“One who laughs”

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Visiting with Death

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Death came to visit last week and decided to stay awhile.

Our Isaac is dying.  We know that.  Last night I jokingly told Megan I thought he pulled this trick every few months so he could get the special treats he loves so well…Kentucky Fried Chicken, grilled salmon, sardines and the like.  But, unlike previous times, he’s not perking back up.  He’s twenty-one-and-a half-years old and has pulled through these spells before with wonderful vet care, frequent feedings and most importantly, tons of LOVE, but this time is different.

We’ve been caring for and watching him closely since last week.  Of course we don’t want him to die.  He’s a part of our family.  He is especially Bob’s baby.  He’s seen us through the most painful of times as well as the most joyful.  He is a part of us…he is our hearts.  And, of course, we don’t want him to suffer.  We are at that oh so difficult stage of our relationship with this most awesome cat…The Decision.

Making The Decision.

Death has become a familiar guest in our home these past few years.  We lost Bob’s mom Pauline and not too long after her passing, his father Robert died peacefully in our home after extended hospice care.  During this time our dogs Ozzie and Max both passed away after long happy lives, as did our cats Hallie and Jackson.  Rose, Cypher, Mouse, two un-named feral kittens and their mother were all taken from us by Feline Leukemia.  I’ve also tended to a couple of injured baby squirrels as they made their transitions.  It’s never easy.  But, it is always sacred.

As pet owners, it is part of our sacred contract with these gifts from God, to care for them the best we know how and are capable of, and sometimes that includes making “The Decision.”  Out of all of the pets named above, we’ve only had to do that once.  All of the others either peacefully slipped away in our loving arms, or unexpectedly while we were sleeping.

“The Decision” sucks.  It really does.  And, the thing about it…is that until you know, you don’t.  You really don’t know that you can actually make that decision until a moment arrives and you understand it is the right and only thing to do.  And, even then, it still sucks.  But, until that moment arrives, death has come to visit and you have become a death doula for your beloved pet.

Being a Death Doula.

From the New York Times:  “The word doula, Greek for “woman who serves,” is usually associated with those who assist in childbirth. But increasingly, doulas are helping people with leaving the world as well.”  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/24/your-money/death-doulas-help-the-terminally-ill-and-their-families-cope.html?_r=0 

You do what you can to make your pet’s last days and minutes as comfortable…even enjoyable…as you can.  For us, that includes offering Isaac frequent, tempting foods, water and cream (he is one of few cats that not only tolerates cream, but thrives on it), holding the bowl up to his mouth for easy access and not forcing him if he’s not interested.  It entails frequent monitoring to make sure he is not in pain or suffering in any way.  He sleeps in our bed and we wake ourselves to check on him.  We make sure our other pets are not pestering him.  Most importantly, we hold him and love him and celebrate his life…out loud.

“Isaac!  The proud and noble!”

“Isaac!  The devoted and wise!”

“Isaac!  You have loved so well!”

“Isaac! We love you so much!”

Always using his name.  Always in LOVE…

Until he leaves us, his way eased by the most powerful force in existence…or another possibility that LOVE presents…he recovers, which as I mentioned, has happened before, or we come to that moment when we know what we didn’t before…that the decision is no longer a decision, but a reality.

LOVE will let us know.  It always does.

Until then, we will entertain Death as we do all guests…with LOVE.

 

 

 

 

 

Ruby: A New Way to Love

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Meet Ruby, the newest addition to our family.  She actually joined us back in February, but back then I was hesitant to share her with you because I honestly didn’t know if she was going to “make it” with us.

You see, Ruby was found abandoned in someone’s back yard, along with another dog, who was dead.  Ruby was in such bad shape that she required two months of intensive medical care and rehabilitation before she could be put up for adoption.  And, then she was adopted, but her new “forever” family only kept her for 4 days before returning her to the shelter for “bad behavior” and “nerves.” (The first day after they adopted her, they left her alone in a bedroom for 9 hours and she ate the mattress!)

When our daughter Megan called and informed us that she’d fallen in love with this puppy, and told us about her history, of course my heart went out to her and I said “bring her home,” all the while questioning my judgement (it’s not like we don’t already have a houseful of four-legged family members!) as well as whether it was wise to adopt a Pit Bull Terrier mix.  I tried to keep in mind all of the positive stories I had heard of this breed…how loyal and smart, responsive, eager to please and more…and decided to do my best to give her a chance.

Believe me, those first few days I watched her like a hawk.  I was most nervous that she had not been raised around cats and didn’t know how she would react, especially since she was still officially a puppy whose play could be overly enthusiastic at times.

Ruby soon proved that she, too, was a cat lover and we all enjoyed watching her interact with our “herd”, especially with one of our youngest, Faith.  Ruby would tease Faith and Faith would tease Ruby, back and forth, forth and back…Ruby gently mouthing Faith’s whole head and Faith pedaling Ruby’s face with her back feet, claws sheathed.

So, I relaxed about that.

On the other hand, spending the majority of her first year outside and then in a shelter, Ruby had some other issues which I found myself having difficulty dealing with.

She chewed.  Everything.  Furniture. The carpet. The door jamb.  Toys.  Whatever she could get her mouth on.

She also seemed to be totally disinterested in learning to “go” outside.

And, she definitely had a case of “the nerves.”  Loud noises, (especially metal on metal) and sudden movements freaked her out.  She had to be approached from her front, and preferably underneath her chin…if we went to pat the back of her head she would cringe and shy away.

Although I’ve done my best to be patient and loving with her, there have been many days when I really didn’t know whether we were the right family for Ruby.

Until this week.

We were out walking the dogs when Ruby got away from us.  Now, let me tell you…Ruby is FAST.  When she’s off leash at the dog park, she can eat up some ground like I don’t know what.  But, this time she didn’t take off.  With us trailing her, calling her name, she started heading down the street…never letting us out of her sight…slowing down and even stopping until we got close enough for her liking…then starting off again.

Nervously, we followed her…the highway was only a short block away and that was the direction she was heading, but then she turned…

and, crossing a field, went straight to our house, curling herself up on the doormat, patiently awaiting our tardy (and sweaty) arrival.

It was then that my heart fully opened to our Ruby.  I saw a beautiful, young dog that knew where she belonged…who knew where she was loved and treasured…who knew what HOME is meant to mean and who had found hers…forever.

So, I am pleased to introduce you to our Ruby…a new way to love.

 

 

 

 

My Heart Opening/Attack Parts II and III: The How and the Why

crown kundalini

My Heart Opening/Attack Part II:  The How

My heart opening/attack was a STEMI, a 100% blockage in my right coronary artery.  From the American Heart Association: “STEMI is a common name for ST-elevation myocardial infarction, which is a more precise definition for a type of heart attack. It’s caused by a prolonged period of blocked blood supply that affects a large area of the heart. STEMI has a substantial risk of death and disability and calls for a quick response.”

I really could have died.

This is how I didn’t:

  • I didn’t wait around to see if the pain would go away. I got myself to a hospital that thankfully had an amazing protocol for treating MI patients and that was close by to its parent facility with an outstanding Cardiac Care Center.  (Again, PLEASE CALL 911!  Do not try to drive yourself or have someone drive you to the hospital! ) Treatment within the first hour to two of an MI is essential.  Besides the fact that an ambulance can probably get you to a hospital faster, they can also speed up your chances of getting treatment more quickly by notifying the hospital of your condition so they can be ready to begin the MI protocol immediately upon your arrival.  There’s also this…if you code on the way, they can actually do something about it.
  • I took that aspirin. Although I took it because of the headache, it probably saved my heart from permanent damage.  Note:  CHEW the aspirin (a regular, 325 mg., UNCOATED aspirin or four 81 mg. “baby” aspirin) and wash it down with water.  That will get it into your system faster.
  • I stayed centered and calm and open to what was happening and what was coming next. I did not allow myself to dwell upon negative thoughts…when the few that I did have popped up, I simply loved that  part of myself that was fearful and went back to focusing on my breath. Interestingly, although the thoughts seemed fearful, I actually had no emotional fear.
  • I prayed.
  • I loved my heart. I literally put my hands over my heart and told it repeatedly, sometimes even out loud “I LOVE YOU.”
  • I surrendered. I knew God/LOVE had my back (and heart!) and I let go of any resistance to whatever was happening, even the pain, even the unknown outcome.
  • I looked for the blessing, knowing that it was there…and it was. It always is.

 

 

My Heart Opening/Attack Part III:  The Why

So, we have the “what” and the “how”, now for the “why.”

Two main reasons:

  • I asked for it.

and

  • I asked for it.

I will explain…

  • I have known for years that my cholesterol was high and for years did nothing about it. Due to previous not so positive experiences with the medical (especially psychiatric) community, I had developed a pretty heavy resistance to pharmaceuticals and “modern” health care in general and basically chose to ignore the facts and went about my merry way doing my merry thing.  I ate what I wanted, smoked when I wanted to, skipped exercising when I didn’t feel like it.  In other words, I did not honor my body, this sacred temple provided to house my soul upon this earth while I go about the business of learning how to love and be loved.

So, yes…I asked for it.  Silly me.

  • I literally asked for it.  From God/LOVE.  For months I had been asking God/LOVE to further open my heart, knowing that the heart is the not only the key, but also the door to all that I desire, which is, honestly, to be ONE with All That Is.  To be able to proclaim, as Jesus did, “I and my Father are One.” To be LOVE so purely that I am able to fulfill his prophecy, “These things and greater shall you do.”  To get that bushel basket off of my head and to shine my light as brilliantly as I am capable of and meant to shine.  To do what we are all here to do and that it is LOVE, be LOVED AND to BE the LOVE that we all, innately are.

(Note:  Each time I would ask God/LOVE to open my heart more; the passage from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Eat, Pray, Love” would come into my head, the part where she tells about her friend that she met in India.  He kept asking for his heart to be opened and he ended up having open heart surgery.  The memory of this had me adding “Gently, please, Beloved One…gently!” at the end of each request.)

For a very long time I have been walking a very thin line between frustration and patience with myself when it comes to my writing.  I have so much to share, so much literal GOOD NEWS to tell.  My testimony of what God/LOVE has done for me is incredibly powerful and it is my heart’s desire to utilize my gift, write it down and give it to the world.

Sounds simple, yes?

Perhaps, if one doesn’t have a practically life-long emotional blockage attempting to keep one from doing just that.

Even knowing exactly the moment the blockage was created, having exquisite memory of being publically shamed for putting my truth “out there” in writing; I had been unable to overcome my huge resistance, to the point of not writing at all.

So, yes, I was frustrated.

But, strangely, at the same time, I was also patient with myself.  I know the power of LOVE.  I know that its Light illuminates and transforms.  I also know that it has its own, perfect timing and for the most part, I had been able to rest in that knowing but on Easter Sunday I sort of lost my patience with myself AND with God/LOVE and following are some excerpts of what I journaled.

(Note:  I actually do write almost every day.  I journal my thoughts to God/LOVE and I find it to be a potent tool for self discovery and realization.  I actually enjoy it.  I just don’t do it with the intention of sharing it.  That is my sticking point…the putting it “out there.” It’s the pieces like this, written with the intention of sharing, that had me so stymied.)

From my journal:

Good Easter Morning, Beloved One!

Yesterday Bob told me to stop worrying about writing, meaning stop trying to write if it was going to worry me.  I told him I would never, ever give up.  He asked me why and I told him “Because God told me to write.”

Dear God, I know this is true.  I also know that I am not doing this on my own, that YOU are with me, in me, for me and hopefully THROUGH me.  I also know that my contribution to the world is needed.  Dear One, our world is in such chaos and pain.  People are snapping left and right – the whole world seems out of balance.  I know, Beloved One, that the best thing I can do to help is to LIVE my true, Divine identity – to SHINE my light as brilliantly as I am designed, built, capable, MEANT TO – to glorify YOU.  To share and spread the GOOD NEWS – the Power of LOVE. 

Beloved One, I know that in Christ I can do ANYTHING.  Beloved One, I am asking for the upgrade – the expansion in consciousness – the surrender – the opening to and receiving of the GRACE that I KNOW you have ready for me.  I am tired of fighting this, I am tired of being patient.  I am READY.  THANK YOU!  Today, Beloved One,  is the day of Resurrection, of Re-Birth, of Transcendence and LIBERATION.  Today, NOW, AS NEVER BEFORE, I declare my liberation IN LOVE.  AND SO IT IS! AMEN!

THANK YOU!

THANK YOU!

THANK YOU!

So, there you have it.  On Easter Sunday I set myself up for a complete reaming out of my blockage…literally as well as figuratively.

My heart opening/attack happened the next evening.

Just like everything else, there are layers…depths…of surrender.  Over the past ten years I have surrendered…over and over and over again, countless times.  Perhaps I’ve been catching up after a lifetime of refusing to.  It’s that stubborn part of me, the rebel…the revolutionary. Maybe it’s in my blood, I actually am a direct descendant of a soldier that fought in the American Revolution.  (And, then there is that Deep South, rebel birth…)

Whatever the cause, I have never been one to bow gracefully in blind obedience to authority, especially to some gigantic white haired man in the sky continually pointing his finger at me in condemnation, which is how I thought of God for the majority of my 57 years.  That God had no appeal for me and over the years I distanced myself from “him”, the church and Jesus, as well (talk about throwing the baby out with the bath-water!) At one point I actually decided that I did not believe in God, at all.  I mentally and emotionally divorced myself from the relationship, preferring to go my own, confused, messed up way, rather than demean myself by believing in such fairy tales, and declared myself an atheist…or at least an agnostic.  Maybe even an agnostic atheist.  Simply…I did not know and felt like I had never experienced “proof” of God, so I didn’t believe in God…until I did.

It was in June of 2006, ten years ago next month, that I received a “taste” of God through the gift of Reiki.  That “taste” rocked my world and nothing has been the same since.   If I were to never have another direct experience of God’s Love, that one was life changing, paradigm shifting enough to keep me devoted for a lifetime.  THIS, and only this, was something I could bow down…surrender to.

And I have…like I said…over and over and over again and I am sure that I will continue to do so for the rest of my life.  Surrender is a process that, for most, happens in degrees.  We surrender and think we are fully surrendered…until we discover that there is even more to surrender.  Some surrenders are huge, some are small…all are equally important to the process.

This latest surrender of mine was apparently huge.

“Whatever it takes,” was my basic intention.  “I am ready and willing.”

And, there we have it.  I got what I asked for, and in the end, it was a gentle opening.  As physically painful as it was, it was not more than I could endure and there were actually moments of incredible beauty during the attack.  Although I have come to know the awesome Power of Love quite well, the deepening of my understanding of it during this episode once again changed my life.

Absolutely NOTHING is more important than LOVE.

“I may have the gift of prophecy, I may fathom all mysteries, know all things, have all faith — enough to move mountains; but if I lack love, I am nothing.” – 1st Corinthians 13:2

I realized that nothing mattered at all but that I had loved and been loved.  In the end, that really is all that counts.

So, the moral of this story is be careful what you ask for.  If it is in alignment with your highest good and the well-being of all…in other words, with LOVE, you will get it, although it may come packaged in a way that you may not have envisioned.

In LOVE!

Joy Ayscue

May 7th, 2016

fierce love

Addendum:  a couple of interesting notes…

  • My heart actually suffered no damage during the opening/attack!
  • Shortly after my opening/attack, I suddenly remembered finding a snake in our bedroom a couple of weeks prior. At the time I was extremely aware of the kundalini symbolism and was excited by and welcoming to its presence, although I had no premonition of its intent.  I believe the incredible headache that began my opening/attack was my crown chakra blowing wide open in a “top-down” awakening, which unblocked my third eye, throat and its ultimate target, my heart chakra.
  • My heart surgeon’s name is Dr. Ahmed, which means “One who praises God and one whom God praises.” When I saw Dr. Ahmed for my follow up and thanked him for saving my life, he simply said “It was God.”  I silently thought, “Of course…God sent me exactly who I needed!”
  • My heart-felt thanks and gratitude to the following individuals for their loving teachings which helped me prepare for this experience: Dale Allen Hoffman, for bringing the true voice of Jesus to my ears.  Matt Kahn, for offering the spiritual practice “Whatever arises, love that.” And, Graham Cooke for his prophecies and teachings of what is possible in the Kingdom of Heaven, and how to reveal and live it here on Earth.  Each one of you hold a very special place in my heart.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Medical Disclaimer

The medical information included in this post is, at best, of a general nature and cannot substitute for the advice of a medical professional (for instance, a qualified doctor/physician, nurse, pharmacist, and so on). I am none of these. I am simply sharing my own, personal experience. 

Nothing in this post should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a medical opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of medicine. 

My Heart Opening/Attack Part I: “The What”

 

Part I:  “The What”

heart mind opening

The bruises have mostly faded, save a few (stubborn, like me.)

Last night made three weeks since my heart attack, which I prefer to call my heart opening.   The hip to knee bruising was from the angioplasty’s aftermath, when the site where they entered my femoral artery leaked for a while until they went back in and sealed it up.  As painful (and colorful!) as the aftermath to that was, I am grateful that it happened, for it slowed me down and gave me time to reflect and savor the experience I had been given, and honestly, compared to the pain of the actual heart opening/attack, it was nothing.

You know how there are particular events in your life which alter your thinking to “Before” and “After?”  Those things that happen to you which days, weeks, and years later you are able to recall exactly where you were and what you were doing?  “Three weeks ago tonight at this time I was watching The Voice when all of a sudden I thought the top of my head was going to explode.”

This, for me, has been one of those experiences.  And, it began with a headache, which, according to my cardiologist, doesn’t happen.

But it did. Many of you have asked me questions such as “What did it feel like?” and “How did you know?” So, I am here, doing what I have previously resisted so mightily, writing my story to share with those who wish to know.  Maybe it will help someone…I know it will help me.

I don’t want to forget the pain, but even as I type that, I realize that it is already fading.  I suppose it is similar to the pain of childbirth which, once your baby is in your arms, recedes in your mind to a dull memory of secondary importance.  I want the experience in whole to stay fresh in my consciousness so I don’t ever begin to minimize its impact on my heart and mind, and writing it down is an excellent tool to do just that.  Perhaps someday I will read this again and think to myself “Wow! I don’t remember it as that excruciating,” but I don’t think so.

One doesn’t easily forget one’s crucifixion…or one’s resurrection. Which is exactly what it felt like, or, at least, what I would imagine it to feel like. Nor does one lose the gratitude which surviving such an experience births.

So, here’s what happened, what it felt like, how I made it through and what it all possibly means…the “why.”

I really was laying in bed enjoying watching The Voice when all of a sudden, out of no-where, it felt like the top of my head was going to either ex- or implode.  The pressure was incredible, and unlike any headache I’ve had in my life and I have had some doozies, although these past many years since I began practicing meditation and Reiki, I have only had very mild ones and those only very infrequently.

For some reason, instead of treating it with Reiki like I normally would any physical (or mental or emotional) pain, I got out of bed and took a dose of ibuprofen (my regular go-to for more than minor pain) and a 325 mg (not baby sized) aspirin (kept on hand “just in case” but not routinely taken.)  I told Bob I was going to just get ready and go to bed, thinking I would sleep the headache off.  I scooped the litter boxes, brushed my teeth (I was already in my pajamas) and laid back down to relax.

That’s when it started.  The Pain.  THE PAIN.

In my chest.  Then my arms.  Then my neck.  Then, even my ears.

This rolling wave of all encompassing misery.  And, it did come in waves…left to right, right to left, from up to down and back up again. I had never, ever, felt anything like it, and I immediately knew something was very wrong.

I got up, went back into the kitchen and told Bob just that…

“Something is very wrong.”

“This is not good.”

“I think I’m having a heart attack.”

Now, here is where we should have called 911.  Here is where ANYONE should call 911, so if you find yourself thinking you may be having a heart attack, do NOT do what we did, which was get in the car and drive to the hospital, even after I ended up melting onto the front hall floor…I just had to lay down…on the way out the door.

Since they closed our local hospital, we had to drive to Wake Med North in Raleigh which is 20 miles, 30 minutes without traffic, from our home.  The waves continued the whole way like big, bad, rolling thunder with a continual, underlying sense of pure illness.  I wasn’t sick to my stomach but I did have spells of slight, clammy sweating and a need for fresh air.  About half way there, passing Rex’s Wake Forest facility, I asked Bob if they had an urgent care and if we could stop there because I was beginning to wonder if I was going to make it…literally.  He said they did, but it was closed.

I stayed calm.

That amazed me.  Even in the throes of that incredible pain, I stayed centered and focused on my breath, which was becoming more precious with every inhalation, although I was not actually short of breath.  It was more a sense of not knowing if my whole body was going to hold up.

It was an odd thing for me to wonder if my next breath was going to actually come.

At the door to the emergency department, Bob threw the car into park and jumped out (car still running) to get me a wheel chair.  We were directed to the registration desk where I gave them my name and birth date and then insisted I couldn’t answer any more questions right then…

“I need help NOW!” (I’m usually not so impatient/demanding!)

To her credit, the registrar recognized that I really did need immediate attention and notified the triage nurse who wheeled me directly into a room with an EKG machine, which she hooked me up to after a few, perfunctory questions.

I laid there as the machine did its quick thing and watched the nurse rip off the print out and run out of the room.  Before I knew it, I had been wheeled into another room and was quickly surrounded by about 20 people…each one of them either poking me with needles or questions, all talking to each other…

“Heparin.”

“Heparin in.”

“Morphine.”

“Morphine in.”

(YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!  Morphine!!! Relief!!!)

(NOOOOOOOOOO!!! It’s not working!!!)

As they packaged me up for transport to Big Wake for cardiac catheterization, I told Bob “I love you. Call the kids and tell them I love them.” I wanted those to be my last words, if they were going to be my last.

I still just didn’t know.

My paramedic in the ambulance was an angel named Michael.  As we barreled down the highway somehow my pain actually got worse.  I rocked from side to side, my legs doing some kind of weird cycling thing, my whole body now caught up in an agony that I was beginning to question would ever end.  Waves and waves of pain and underneath that pain was a whole other ocean of misery.  Every time the driver hit the siren I prayed, “Jesus, open the way.”

He did.

Arriving at Big Wake, I was wheeled directly to the cardiac cath lab, where the whole team was standing by, ready for me.  At this point, the morphine and Ativan I had been given began to really kick in…not so much relieving the pain, but allowing me to relax my body a bit and making everything even more surreal.  More poking and prodding, instructions to lay still, lights being turned off and on, monitors glowing.  I saw my heart on a screen.  I felt the doctor pushing, tapping something into my body.  I looked at his tired, intent face, saw him yawn.

And then, suddenly, the pain was gone.

Just like that.

GONE.

(NOTE!  Heart attack symptoms can vary WIDELY between individuals!  Here is a great article and website to get you familiar with what to watch for. http://myheart.net/articles/signs-and-symptoms-of-a-heart-attack/  And, have some aspirin on hand…”just in case!”)

To be continued…

 

Medical Disclaimer

The medical information included in this post is, at best, of a general nature and cannot substitute for the advice of a medical professional (for instance, a qualified doctor/physician, nurse, pharmacist, and so on). I am none of these. I am simply sharing my own, personal experience. 

Nothing in this post should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a medical opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of medicine. 

What I Learned from Writing Erotica (or, The Accidental Pornographer?)

tantra

The other day I posted a link to a story I had written for my husband as a Valentine’s Day gift, at his request. It was his loving way of encouraging me to get over my fear of and resistance to “putting myself out there” in print. The story, a piece of erotica, was motivated by LOVE and was written with the following intentions:

(1) To fulfill my amazing husband’s loving request.
(2) To get over my fear of publishing my work and to bust through a shadow which has kept me limited for almost 50 years.
(3) To push myself outside of my comfort zone in order to grow as not only a writer, but as a person.
(4) To exercise my creativity.
(5) To use my gift of writing to not only entertain but to uplift and illuminate.
(6) To fully surrender to and allow God/LOVE to work through me in this way.

I shared the link on facebook in an invitation to my friends and family to celebrate my breakthrough with me. So many have been witness to my struggles with writer’s block and have supported and encouraged me for so long, I thought a nice way to thank them for all of their love would be to share my joy with them…as they say, “A joy shared is doubled!” And, I felt secure in doing so because my husband was cool with it and, most importantly, I felt strong in my conviction that this was not only a good thing to do, but that it was divinely inspired as well as guided.

Believe me…I thought long and hard about sharing myself in this way with the world, not to mention the hours of prayer and meditation, and not just because of the subject matter. For me to put ANY of my writing out into the Universe is a huge deal because of that shadow issue, mentioned above. But, every time I questioned God/LOVE, I got the same validation…”Do it!”

So, I did. And, now I have been challenged to examine my conscience concerning my actions and their resulting consequences, so here I go:

Concerning writing erotica, I stand firm in knowing that what I wrote was not pornography, as accused. Now, the trick here is that this is a very subjective area. As Leon F Seltzer Ph.D. writes, the topic “is so steeped in personal moral, aesthetic, and religious values” that it is important to remember each one of us will have our own views and perspectives, and here’s the real kicker…each one of can be considered to be “right” because of this fact. I can’t tell you that you are wrong for considering what I wrote to be pornographic because of your life’s experience, beliefs and unconscious shadows. That is simply your view…your truth. I can’t take that away from you any more than you can take my truth away from me.

This is paradox. We can both be right, “can” being the operative word. Each of us has to allow the other’s “rightness” to exist for paradox to be fully realized and benefitted from. Unfortunately, this isn’t a well understood phenomenon and rarely is its power employed.

In contemplating this challenge, I did some research on the difference between pornography and erotica. I won’t take up your time by posting definitions and etymologies, but I found Dr. Seltzer’s summary spoke very eloquently what I feel is my own truth: “…what in general separates the erotic from the pornographic is an attitude toward sex and human sexuality that can be inferred from looking (dare I use the word, “objectively”?) at the finished product. If the subjects are portrayed in a manner that focuses on their inner and outer radiance, their fleshy vitality, and the work itself seems to manifest a passionate and powerful affirmation of life and the pleasures of this world, then I think we’re talking erotic. If, however, the subjects seem reduced to so many body parts, if any beauty appears subordinate to the overriding purpose of arousal, if the sex depicted seems depersonalized, controlling, non-mutual, and devoid of fun or play (but rather seems about “getting down to business” and “getting off”)–and if the sex acts pictured contain not a hint of human caring or emotional connectedness to them–that, to me, would definitely secure the work’s place in the realm of pornography.”

(Excellent post, by the way…here’s a link to the full article in Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolution-the-self/201104/what-distinguishes-erotica-pornography )

Even the Supreme Court of the United States has admitted difficulty in defining pornography, including Justice Potter Stewart who wrote that he could not define pornography, but he knew it when he saw it.

Again…we see that it’s all in the eye of the beholder. My erotica might be your porn and vice versa.

So, again, I honor you for speaking your truth and standing firm in your beliefs. However, please don’t tell me that just because you believe what I wrote is “wrong” that I should believe as you do. I’ve been there, done that. In fact, this whole episode in the life of Joy could be said to be about exactly that. I’m speaking once again about that shadow that I’ve dealt with for most of my life. When I was seven years old I was publically shamed by an authority figure who told me that I was wrong. The problem with this was that I wasn’t wrong…and neither was she. We were both right. Only, neither of us could or did realize this. She knew she was right and I knew I was right but she had the position to over-rule me and the ugly disposition to make me suffer, which I did…intensely in that moment and chronically for the following half century. I won’t do that again.

I won’t doubt my truth.
I won’t doubt my motivations or intentions.
I won’t doubt myself or my gifts, abilities and talents.
I won’t doubt my God.
I WON’T DOUBT LOVE.

Now, about the website I posted my writing on. Literotica.com is a website that accepts amateur authors “quality erotic story submissions” and offers the “hottest in erotic fiction and fantasy.” If one were to take the time to explore the site, they would find a WIDE array of works that encompass just about every aspect, area and topic concerning sexuality. There are even some submissions that have absolutely nothing to do with sex. There are some brilliantly written pieces which reflect the beauty and amazing potential of our sexual natures and there are some which aren’t and don’t. Just like every other open public website on the internet you get a mix of it all. On YouTube one can watch videos that make your heart open wide and your mind expand enormously. You can also see people blowing other people up and laughing about it. On Facebook one can see posts which uplift and illuminate and unify all of mankind as well as those which are racist, homophobic, and countless others which darken, divide and separate. Do you stop visiting and participating in these websites because of the “bad apples?” Do you throw the baby out with the bathwater?

Over the course of my self-examination on this matter, I’ve come to realize so many things. This particular life lesson has multiple layers and they just keep on showing up and peeling away. Right now I am focusing on the following:

1) Standing in my Truth. Exercising my Faith. Walking my Talk.
2) We need to be talking about sex and sexuality. We need to talk to our selves about it, we need to talk to God about it, we need to talk to our partners about it AND we need to talk to each other, especially our children, about it. It, like every other gift we have been given, is incredibly powerful and has the full potential to help us…well, basically, realize that Heaven is not somewhere else other than right here on Earth. It also has the potential to be incredibly destructive when misunderstood and abused.

3) Even with as much work as I’ve done on myself over the past 9 years, the absolutely wonderful relationship (including sexual) that I have with my husband and my awesome life in general, I still have shadow work to do on myself in many areas, including my sexuality and now I am even more determined to do it. I am dedicated to exploring EVERY aspect of myself and my life and living each to its fullest potential, depth and richness.

4) I need to share more of myself. If someone thinks I would consciously do something…ANYthing…motivated by anything other than LOVE, then they don’t know me well enough. The simple way to rectify this is to open myself up more, put myself “out there” and shine my light even more-so.

So, in conclusion…

Sometime last summer I heard three words that have made a huge difference in my life. “Empaths crave validation.” That’s ME! Or, that USED to be me! I SOOOO didn’t trust myself in just about any matter or area of my life that I was always looking outside of myself to make sure I was “right.” Along my active path I’ve found that I no longer need anyone else to tell me that I’m on the right track, am doing the right things, saying the right words, doing a good job, etc.. These days I get my validation directly from God, and you may rest assured that when I’m NOT on the right track I am very quickly set straight. Of course, when the outside validation comes, it’s always welcomed, but it definitely isn’t necessary. I’ve even found that when I do rely ONLY on God for validation, it comes even more often and more clearly. Since I wrote and posted the erotica story that I wrote for my husband, God has been telling me left and right “You’re doing a good job…just keep on doing what you’re doing,” in so many ways.

So, that’s what I’m going to do…keep on doing what I’m doing. I’m going to write more erotica with the intent that it be integral, uplifting and illuminating of the importance and power of our sexuality and sexual relationships. I’m also going to be talking about it and sharing my own journey of exploration into Sacred Sex, where our sexuality and sexual union is experienced as being blessed by God/LOVE and furthering Its purpose, as it unfolds. When I realized God really did want me to do this I honestly questioned, “What?!!! Who??!!! Me?!!!” and was answered with, “Who better than you? You who have experienced both the “dark” and the “light” sides of sex…you who have come to embrace the whole and are devoted to fulfilling this gift’s promises?”

So, to my friend who gave me the opportunity to do this in-depth self-exploration, I thank you. You are an angel in disguise. I now stand even stronger in my resolve to serve God/LOVE in whatever ways are divinely given to me, as best I can and without self-doubt or fear, and in the knowledge that this particular venture IS divinely inspired, guided and endorsed.

I leave you with two quotes:

“We are born sensuous; we become erotic. To cultivate the erotic is also to engage with sexuality as a quality of aliveness and vitality that extend beyond a mere repertoire of sexual techniques. We learn to play, be curious, engage with our imagination, anticipate. Erotic intelligence is our ability to bring novelty to the enduring, mystery to the familiar, and surprise to the known.” – sexual therapist Marty Klein in his book, Sexual Intelligence

and

“Beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’
doesn’t make sense any more.” ~ Rumi

In LOVE!
Joy

p.s.  for those who would like to read my first attempt at erotic story writing, here is a link to it on literotica.com  //www.literotica.com/s/she-and-he-the-initation

Letting Go & Letting LOVE

Yesterday I had the pleasure…no…the pure joy! of twirling a toddler ‘round and ‘round and ‘round as she grinned and giggled until we both turned just a little dizzy.

Today, as I reflected on this precious experience, my understanding of the teaching “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven,” deepened and I realized just how much I’ve been resisting embodying this wisdom in my life.

Remembering the pure trust shining in this little child’s delighted face as we spun around…I wondered how I would react if someone picked me up out of the blue and began whirling me through the air at the ends of their arms.  In my mind and heart’s eyes I saw me screaming to be put down, scared, fearful, not trusting at all.  Being a smallish sized person, I’ve actually had similar experiences in my adult life and, probably because of my resistance, none of them turned out to be very pleasant.

I then allowed myself to imagine being in the place of this innocent child…only I was me…at the other end of God/LOVE’s arms.  HE/SHE/IT has been twirling me around all my life…from my first breath through this present moment, and I have been continually dragging my feet, whining to slow down, resisting the pleasure of pure momentum and exhilarating flight.  In other words…not fully trusting the ride and thus not fully experiencing the pure joy of it.

I see that relaxing into “The Ride” is a metaphor for being my true, authentic self…withholding nothing, joyfully whooping my way through this life’s experience, fully expressing my gifts with no self-doubt, no self-judgment, no fear or worry and no hesitation.  I see myself finally surrendering completely to this power that I have come to know as LOVE/GOD and actually ENJOYING this process that is continually unfolding…trusting without reserve that I am not only taken care of, but cherished and supported in BEING MYSELF, beyond belief.

Here’s to kicking up our heels, letting go and LETTING LOVE!!!

LetgoLetLoveImage Credit:  Melissa Lawrence  http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4538/Let-Go-Let-Love-Surrender-to-Your-Higher-Self.html