My mother is the family historian. She has spent hours looking into the details of where our ancestors came from, and imagines what their life was like back in the day.
From what I can put together, my DNA is a sacred blend of of tribal ancestry and Britannia comprised of Cherokee, Ouachita or Caddo, English and possibly Scottish. One thing is for certain–there are many grafts in my diverse family tree!
For as long as I can remember, I’ve primarily had two great interests: All things Great Britain, and all things Native American.
The first foreign country I traveled to was Great Britain. I spent many hours just walking the lanes and countryside of England, Scotland and Ireland. Rounding a bend and seeing a great castle or grand home captivated my imagination about what it was to live in such an enchanting, albeit harsh, environment depending on your socio-economic status.
I’m a Jane Austen addict…I have watched every version of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma and Persuasion ever made…and I never tire of them.
I love the architecture of the period and the clothing…the hanging of herbs out to dry and the English country gardens.
When Daniel Day Lewis starred with Russell Means, Wes Studi, Eric Schweig and Madeline Stow in The Last of the Mohicans, it was the cinematic jackpot for me. Any movie where these two wildly different cultures interact and I can witness a small slice of the dynamics in creating a melting pot with different collective, individual and tribal ideals is something that I’ve always, always, been interested in.
I have spent a lot of time in the Southeast and the Southwest…walking over land that has been inhabited for thousands of years, peering into the remnants of the past where life was lived closer to the ground and there wasn’t much sense of ‘the future’, since the present took care of it. I imagine this period of time where bodies lived close together and care and respect for the young ones and elderly was considered a primary responsibility for the continuity of the tribe.
I am equally at home in a refined hotel lobby sipping tea at 4pm or out in the woods, observing nature and merging with it. I contemplate both sides of this cultural coin daily…mostly through my work as a jewelry designer and also as an up and coming Human Design Analyst.
I was reading yesterday where the respected Native American metalsmith, Ben Nighthorse Campbell, learned how to incorporate sword-making techniques from Japan in order to more fully express his ideas of Native American art jewelry into the world. Native American metalsmith’s from the Southwest learned their craft from the Spanish traders and explorers that traveled through…and on and on it goes.
I’ve picked up ideas and techniques from everyone that I’ve interacted with and merged them together into a particular expression of what interests me…that is how evolution works.
Life on this planet depends on interaction and trading…viruses and bacteria are always looking for ways to grow and evolve by hitching a ride on us, and exchanging their biological information with other bacteria and viruses they come in contact with. Our planet, like a single cell, is constantly exchanging material with what falls to earth from space, and our oceans send bacteria back out into space via atmospheric cloud making…this exchange is what LIFE is.
I embrace this exchange in all of its forms. Every culture appropriates from other cultures. Every cellular form of life appropriates genetic material from the others it encounters. I appropriate certain energies from all the people that I come into contact via my electromagnetic aura…or invisible skin. And so do you.
To not do this is DEATH. This exchange is the only way something NEW comes into being via evolution. Nature is all about appropriation.
I’m not naive enough to believe that appropriation shouldn’t at least involve attribution…in the economic sense, as well as the creative sense too…acknowledging that you are evolving something you feel inclined to express because of an interaction you had with someone else feels like good karma to me. That part of appropriation is still being worked out in the monetary sense as our world becomes much smaller.
But I believe the wrong way to go about it is to STOP it altogether.
One more short story about this from my own backyard…
The other day I was feeding my jays and crows their morning snack of unshelled raw peanuts. While I was still outside, I heard the call of a hawk right over my head. I looked up and didn’t spot the hawk, but I did see a blue jay. As I watched him, I observed him open his mouth and perfectly mimic the sound of a bird of prey. He was trying to scare away a couple of squirrels that were grabbing the nuts by using another voice.
Appropriation in action…right in my backyard.
This is a series of posts sharing about my journey into discovering my Human Design Mechanics.
When I decided to leave the boating world, I moved back to my home state of Arkansas. I reconnected with an old boyfriend I had all through high school, and thought it ‘was time’ to settle down and ‘get serious’ about my life.
I remember, at 25 years of age, feeling this intense pressure to stop traveling and enjoying myself doing what I absolutely loved; and instead, go to college, get married and get busy with starting a family.
Looking back at that time…it wasn’t what I really wanted to do; it was something that I felt I was supposed to do.
That is called conditioning, and we all are conditioned in certain ways for behaviors and decision-making that are not really coming from the core of who we are. Even though my boyfriend was an amazing young man, he started trying to control what I said or shared with those that we started to form friendships with together as a couple.
He didn’t have much curiosity about what I did for those few years I traveled, who I met or where I traveled. He wanted to pick right up from where we stopped when I was 19 or so, which felt disempowering to me at the time.
We stayed together for a few months, then broke up when we determined we had grown too far apart, and I found out he was still in love with his ex-wife.
I was devastated, and confused about what to do next.
I remember going to the bookstore and picking up one of those self-help books about making the life you want by setting goals and pushing for the what you want.
What I really wanted was to experience the synchronistic lifestyle that I lived for those few magical years while I was traveling; but again, I didn’t understand the mechanics about how I had achieved that at the time.
Now I know.
I am designed to respond to life, not initiate things. If I want to experience something in particular, it is not so much up to me to decide how that comes into my life, but I wait and see what I respond to and that wanted experience happens in such a way that far surpasses any expectations I might have tried to form.
When I push, or initiate action when not in response, I run into all sorts of problems.
I decided at that time in my life to pursue a career in sales. So I pushed, pushed, pushed according to the principles in that book I bought.
I thought I wanted to sell cosmetology products to salons, since I had been trained as a hairdresser right out of high school, and I approached a company that used to call on the salon I worked in a few years earlier.
The owner said he was going to open up a sales territory in Memphis, TN and that he would hire me to get it going. At the time, I thought pushing was working out in my favor!
I took out a small loan from a bank to pay for the move, and moved into an apartment in Memphis to start my new job.
A few months later, my boss informs me that the company is folding up and that my services were no longer needed. I was out of a job in my new city; I had a loan payment and fairly high rent to pay and I was absolutely alone.
In my loneliness, I decided to initiate action to get a dog from the pound. I went to the pound, and fell in love with a skinny mutt that looked like a little fox. I took her home, and a week later she was dead from undiagnosed distemper.
By this time I was really panicked. I couldn’t find a job and I had bills due. So, I hawked anything and everything (which was not much) I had so that I could pay my rent. The only thing I had left in my apartment was an ironing board and my bed, and I used the ironing board as my table.
It was a terrifically low point in my life. I lived next to a really nice neighborhood and would often walk around it, dreaming about living in a home with furniture and not feeling terrified about how to take care of myself.
At this point, I was feeling the crunch of bills needing to be paid, and without a college education or any marketable skills for dry land, I decided to approach restaurants and try and get a waitressing job.
I landed one, and ended up in a relationship with someone that was a customer that turned out to be another disaster. I was married to him for a year, and ended up leaving him when I realized that it wasn’t normal to be timed when I went to the grocery store to see if I was out screwing someone else.
I remember leaving Memphis and throwing my wedding ring out the window as I was crossing the Mississippi River, determined to try and figure out where I went so wrong. What was I doing that made life so hard after experiencing a life that was so easy and effortless?
What was the secret sauce?
I have been looking for the answer to that question for myself for 30 years. A couple of years ago, I was introduced to a system that immediately resonated with me and that system of understanding yourself is called Human Design.
I am a being that is designed to live in RESPONSE to what life brings me, and not initiate.
By responding to my environment and waiting for opportunities to come toward me instead of me chasing them, life works with a rhythm and synchronicity that feels more like floating down a river and enjoying the ride and view, instead of paddling upstream, exhausted and frustrated because you are going nowhere.
I learned early in my adult life that pushing and initiating didn’t seem to get me far. I recognized it, but didn’t know what to do about it.
I felt like something was terribly wrong with me because I wasn’t seeing the same sort of success and satisfaction from my life that my some of my peers and family were…it was a difficult time for me before I was 30.
It was an intense time of trial and error…seeing what worked and what didn’t, trying to figure out why I was having such extreme experiences! And why was I always moving? My life up to that point was also about moving…moving…moving!
Before I left for the boats, I lived in Chicago and several other places in Arkansas. My life was in a constant state of flux.
So many things about my life fell into place once I learned how I operate consciously, as well as unconsciously.
In my next post, I will share how I met Shayne and why I believe our relationship has stayed the course based on what I know now about our shared mechanics.
“No, this is not the beginning of a new chapter in my life; this is the beginning of a new book! That first book is already closed, ended, and tossed into the seas; this new book is newly opened, has just begun! Look, it is the first page! And it is a beautiful one!” ― C. JoyBell C.
There is so much that I want to share here, but nobody likes long posts anymore, so I thought I would start a series of short posts…and describe to those of you that are interested a story of transformation and what it looks like from the inside out.
It’s a long story…but I think a really good one!
My story of awakening to who I am began about 30 years ago. For me, it was an opening of sorts, a seeing around the edges of the reality that we have all pretty much agreed to participate in, but I saw something else operating that puzzled me.
I had no framework to put my experiences in when I first became aware of life bringing me what I needed, without much effort, or any really, on my part.
When I was around 21, I was watching an Oprah show about the men in Alaska, and what life was like for women that chose to live there.
I wanted to go and see it for myself…but how?
I had no money, no formal education and I had never been further west than Oklahoma.
How would I get there? What would I do when I got there? How would I take care of myself?
I had no answers. I had no pathway…I just juiced my desire with lots of emotional energy and let it go.
About two weeks later, I was at the mall and ran into a good friend from High School. She asked me to eat lunch with her, and I responded with an enthusiastic yes.
As we were eating, a guy walks by and recognizes my friend, and she asks him to join us. He does…and my life changed in an instant.
I noticed he had a carabiner hanging from his belt loop. It’s a little tool that rock climbers use, and as I had been rappelling with my step-brother at the time, I asked him if he was a climber too.
He said no, he didn’t use if for rock climbing, he used it to strap into a sling when he was working as a deckhand on a small ship in Alaska for putting bow plates on when the ship experienced rough weather.
My heart stopped…he worked on a small ship in Alaska? An opportunity!
I quizzed him further about how one gets a job on a small ship like the one he worked on, and he wrote down the name of a woman to contact in Seattle, and so I did.
A few months later, I was working on a ship in Alaska. I was making good money, I loved the ocean and the people that I worked with, and I saw all of Southeast Alaska over a period of two years.
During that magical time in my life, I responded to opportunities that life brought to me and used that as my navigation system. It was an effortless and zen way of living that stayed with me…but when I came back to Arkansas after that two years, my magical way of living came to an abrupt halt.
I went against my mechanics…and I paid a big price for that…
I succumbed to the conditioned idea that in order to make something of myself, I needed to push for what I wanted, instead of wait and let life bring me opportunities and feel whether or not they were the ‘right’ opportunities for me over time.
My life took a turn for the worst…and I made a series of mistakes that took years to overcome.
In my next post, I will discuss what those mistakes were, what I mean about ‘my mechanics’ and how my life experiences served to teach me how to live as myself.
It took about 30 years for my ‘AHA!’ moment…and I want to give you some of my backstory so you can see the progression and what led me to where I am now.
“This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” ― Alan W. Watts
This was my first week in the studio in over two years!
It wasn’t as productive as I would have hoped for, but I really enjoyed being back ‘at it’.
Something that I’ve learned about myself via my own experience as well as through Human Design, is that I am the most creative when working alone.
Many years ago, when I was grappling with the idea of what to do creatively, I was suffering from intense anxiety.
I was at a crossroads in my life…I had a job that paid very well, but it was not satisfying at all. I felt a pull towards something, but was frustrated because I didn’t know where the pull was coming from, nor what it was compelling me to do.
When we were still living in Oregon, I was walking downtown in Springfield on my lunch break, and happened upon a jeweler who was working at his bench. I could see him through the window of his shop, and something just clicked. That’s what I want to do. That is my IT!
What was it that I reacted to so strongly?
He was alone and immersed in his creativity to the exclusion of everyone else. I could see him…observe his process…but he was so immersed I was invisible to him.
As children, if we had a decent childhood, we natively understood play. Playing is often a solitary activity that allows for complete immersion in the here and now. It’s the closest I’ve really ever come to understanding true communion with the source of where I believe I came from.
Play is the doorway to enter into the space where one’s purpose can be found.
When my anxiety was so debilitating, I went to see a therapist. After about 5 sessions, she told me something that has stuck with me and that I’ve shared with those that are interested in arresting their own anxiety about this idea of purpose.
She said, “When you don’t have to do anything, like housework or other life responsibilities, observe where you tend to spend the most of your time and follow that. Do more of that…that will lead you to your purpose.”
After that session, I never went back.
Anxiety is our mind reacting to fear about the future. When you are immersed in the present, you teach your mind to stay where it belongs…right here, right now.
So go play…and see where it leads!
Live from yourself and you will have no problem deciding between right and wrong. Only the self-divided must make painful choices. A carnation never chooses because it never tries to prove it is a lily. Vernon Howard
New beginnings are about not playing it safe. At least, that’s been my own experience, and I seem to attract new beginnings.
I carry the 3 in my Human Design chart in both my Personality Earth sign, and in my North Node. New Beginning energy is, and has been, a huge part of my life.
According to the I Ching, or Book of Changes, Hexagram 3 is about the energy needed to sprout. If you think about that, an enormous amount of energy is required to break through the surface towards the sun. However, before that can happen, a lot of energy is required for a root system to grow first.
That desire to anchor oneself first before upward growth can occur has played a huge part in my life over the last few years, and it took me until the last couple to understand it from an experiential perspective.
I am rooted, and this year feels like the time to reach for the sun.
As I look back, I see that the last 10 years have involved great growth, but it was in fits and starts. There was no tap root, and the wind carried away my efforts as far as building a business around fabricating jewelry when it blew hard enough.
I was so expended…and exhausted from it all.
It takes a solid commitment to Self, a peculiar constancy, to stay the course when it comes to living as a creative person. I believe creativity applies to all areas of our experiences…not just making stuff.
I will no longer be working at the Natural Foods store as a salesperson, and instead, I will be handling the marketing of the store on a part/part-time basis from my office at home. I decided, and embraced, the opportunity to go full-monty with my jewelry business as well as what I am starting as far as becoming a Human Design Guide.
But I needed the flexibility and the time to work from home full-time to do this the right way.
I attend a spiritual group once a week, and a few weeks ago, a member of the group remarked that sometimes we may find ourselves in the middle of an answered prayer while waiting for our prayers to be answered.
That so resonated with me…I needed more flexibility, but didn’t want to sever my connection to my part-time job because I love it, along with the people that I work with. I talked to the owner, and we came to an agreement that I believe will work to the best interest of us both.
Emotionally, I knew that it was time to make a new start, and by honoring my whole self, the decision was easily made. I know I am a creative person…I know that living from myself is the way to navigate.
It wasn’t a painful choice…I gave up nothing and instead, gained much more.
And here is another thing I am very excited about…and that is working more with my husband and including him in on my business strategy.
I married someone that is quite brilliant about the things I am not so brilliant in…and its time I make some space for him to help us both grow together.
Mmmmmm……..that was nice to write.