Your Shadow Is Everywhere.

lush forest growing on mountains slopes at sundown

“Sun went down in honey and the moon came up in wine. You know stars were spinnin’ dizzy. Lord, the band kept us too busy we forgot about the time.”

The Grateful Dead, “The Music Never Stops”

Every year I right a blog post on, about, or revolving around February 21st. I write about how much I miss my late older brother and how I so desperately want him to be here and enjoying life. But, the sad reality is he’s not here. He is very much dead. I say that so bluntly because I have his ashes on an altar of mine at my home. He truly is never coming back, even if I secretly will always hope he will be. That I will will soon wake up from this dream and all will go back to normal. I soon than realize, this is normal…..and he really is gone.

“There’s mosquitoes on the river. Fish are rising up like birds. It’s been hot for seven weeks now. Too hot to even speak now. Did you hear what I just heard?”

The Grateful Dead, “The Music Never Stops”

It’s been six years since he left this world and transitioned to a different plane. But, thankfully he does come around and visit. I just wish I could hug him again. In this reality. But, I know I can not and I don’t think I can get over that nugget of knowledge anytime soon.

I still live in the house I grew up in, times and money are rough to come by….and a big move is coming soon, and everything reminds me of him. I want to figure out how to keep the house and land because its very sentimental and I like to keep everything that was apart of my brother’s 26 years of living close to my heart.

Yes, he was only 26 years old when he died. I always say he wanted to remain a Rockstar forever or just start singing, “I want to be forever young.” But, in reality being a struggling drug addict is deadly business and truly shows that addiction can effect everyone. Drugs don’t care what your economic status is, what your career choice is, or how wonderful of a family you come from. Once they take over the person you once knew vanishes and the drugs take over.

“Well the cool breeze came on Tuesday. And the corn’s a bumper crop. And the fields are full of dancin’. Full of singin’ and romancin’. The music never stopped.”

The Grateful Dead, “The Music Never Stops”

The day he died, was something out of a movie. I was driving home, saw cops at my home, turned around, and called my mom. My mom said, ” You need to come home,” and I just knew. I knew he was gone and I new that this new life was about to unfold. There was not time to cry, it was just time for action. I had to grow up and deal with the fact my brother was gone. I had to figure out how to navigate two (three) grieving parents, his friends that just lost someone that would have given them the shirt off their back, and walking through my own grief. Which, the last one I am still working on doing, it’s a process after all.

Six years later and the grief is still there, the sadness is still there, and the thought of what could be is still there. Time doesn’t heal anything. It transforms to what is considered the new normal of feelings. I still am reminded everyday that he is gone, well in the physical sense…..around 9pm every night certain rooms in the home smell life Ralph Lauren Red and cigarettes. So, I don’t know if he is truly gone. But, one will never know.

What I do know is I am the luckiest human alive to have him as my older brother in life and I honor the time we had together in his death. My goal is to keep his memory alive and live life to the fullest, just as he did. And…. I will forever be Johan’s Little Sister and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sometimes the lights all shining on me. Other times I can barely see. Lately it occurs to me. What a long strange trip it’s been.

The Grateful Dead, “Truckin”

Until we meet again bro, keep on keeping on. May your memory stay alive and may you be truly at peace. I will see you through the looking glass in the land of dreams, where time stands still and reality is a figment of our imagination. So, it’s never goodbye truly. It is, I will see you again soon.

The Angel Got Her Wings

man with wings standing on brown mountain peak

“True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it’s lost.”

– Charles Caleb Colton –

It’s been 365 days since I lost one of my best friends. She was an angel on earth. Truly. Anyone that knew her would agree with me. She was truly an angel on earth, embodied light & love, and helped a lot of people. I and I am sure everyone that knew her felt lucky.

I met her through a chance meeting. Both her and I were working a wellness retreat. I had just gotten done teaching a yoga class and I saw this woman walking towards me with this adorable Pitbull (my absolute favorite dog). I waved like an idiot and asked if I could pet her dog (I know screw the people go for the dog). She was nice and said, “Absolutely, I am Ania.” Of course I introduced myself and found out that Ania was doing Akashic Record Readings. At the time I had no idea what that was, but honestly sounded fascinating. I said, “Oh I am doing chair massage pop by and say hi.” Ania smiled and walked away with her adorable dog named Nova and I taught my yoga class. After I got done teaching my class I set up my massage chair….right in front of Ania’s work area and for the rest of the day her and I would chat on and off and from that moment on we became friends.

Weekly to daily phone calls. Monthly dinner dates and every now and then she would give me an Akashic reading. We could talk for hours and hours. She was truly an angel on earth.

365 days ago this angel on earth departed and transitioned to another type of existence. And I would be lying to say that I didn’t miss her, because I do everyday. She was the light in my world and many others that would just constantly keep shining and since she has been gone for me personally life has not been the same. Nor will it ever be the same.

So, my dear friend. I love you, I miss you, and I will see you through the looking glass.

Self Care.

For the past seven years I have worked. I put my nose to the pavement and I have just worked and worked and worked. Let me tell you. The grind and the struggle is real. I worked form sun up to sun down. I did anything and everything I could to get my name out there. I gave away free product, I tried this I tried that, and I would go out of my way to make sure everyone was happy. I didn’t stop working for seven years. Yes, there was a few family centered vacations and of course holidays, but at the end of the day I was working as much as I could.

So….Then….Covid…..Hit…..

I was forced to stop working. I was forced to figure out a completely different way how to market myself. I was without an income for almost three months. So, I started to live stream, started an etsy shoppe, created a YouTube channel….I did pretty much everything to make sure people were happy. But, I was slowly just getting burnt out. My body hurt, I was frustrated, and I was starting to resent my jobs (which I love so much).

So….I….Took…The….Tallman’s Advice

I needed a break. I needed a break more than I needed water. So, I took my boyfriend’s (The Tallman, he’s 6’4) advice and I cancelled live streams for a few weeks (maybe a month) and I stopped working. I stopped doing what I was doing packed up my car and The Tallman and I road tripped it down to Florida, Fort Meyer’s Beach to be exact.

First let me stop and say something. Yes, traveling during a pandemic is not the smartest thing. The cases in Fort Meyer, FL (Lee County) is around 2,000 (approximately ) with about 120 deaths and the cases are as of this moment trending downward. So, it is a little bit safer than being in Illinois during the time of Covid-19. *Side Note: one of my boyfriend’s relavtives works for the CDC so we took their suggestion and came to Florida to help build some immunity for the virus*

The trip down to Florida was about a 20 hour drive broken up into two 10 hour days. It was a long few days, but we finally got here.

And….let me say….it was totally worth it.

I have been able to swim everyday. Eat healthy. Go outside without worrying about catching The Corona Virus. And…Most….Of….All I have been able to just relax and not worry about everything.

Yes, I am worried about coming back to Illinois and working due to the nature of my immune system and just how Illinois weather is for my fibromyalgia. But, I will be back in Illinois at the end of June so I can start back up and see people for massage and yoga….I am still trying to figure out the yoga piece.

What can I take away from spending a month away from Illinois. I can take peace knowing that I needed to do this. I needed the month away from regular life. I needed to take the time to relax and just not put my nose to the grind.

AND….it’s been beyond needed and nice to actually be able to practice the self care that I preach.

I’ll see you on the flip side.

Namaste & Blessed Be.

COVID-19 The End Of The World As We Know It.

“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”

― Chuck Palahniuk

https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/68729-fight-club

As of March 16th, 2020 the world as we know it has gone into isolation. People are practicing social distancing, local businesses are forced to close for the foreseeable future, people are finding out ways to work from home, and you can’t get any fucking toilet paper anywhere. It seems that the world has gone dormant with the possibility of returning to, “business as usual,” anytime soon slim to none. It’s like humanity right now is the experiment for the apocalyptic dystopia of the 31st century that will drain our sanity and bank accounts until we start trading for goods via stones and rocks.

But….Hey maybe it’s not all bad? Maybe this time where thousands of people are out of work (including myself) and trying to figure out how to pay bills, survive being at home for 2-3 weeks, and cancelling vacations (which some of us…aka me….really need) could be a time to reconnect with our inner-selves, nature, and the universe. Or maybe we can all just sit in a corner and watch the world crumble, where we need to where hazmat suits when we go out, and we have to wash our hands every five seconds & never touch our faces again. Maybe I can sit down with my nieces and nephews and tell them how the world before the Corona Virus was different and we didn’t have to wear protective gear to go outside and you could actually enjoy the sun on our faces, roll down small grassy hills, and make s’mores around the campfire.

“Only in the shattering can the rebuilding occur.”

― Barbara Marciniak, Family of Light: Pleiadian Tales and Lessons in Living

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/rebuild

I am hoping that during this time people can get back to the simplicity of the life. I feel that people have grown so far away from the idea of minimalism and just now focus on the materialistic things of this world….like to much toilet paper…..really everyone you don’t need 100 rolls of toilet paper…..just saying.

During this pause in the universe, maybe it’s a sign? Maybe it’s a sign to take a moment and calm down and do some soul work. Reconnect with a part of you that has gone to the wayside. Learn how to be your authentic self and cultivate a relationship with one’s self (mind & body connection-relationship-thing). Or, maybe you just learn how to prioritize yourself over anyone else. Sometimes it’s OK to think about yourself more than the person next to you…..we are in a technical pandemic after all.

Corona Virus itself brings on the sense of the world ending, crippling anxiety, and just the fear of death, dying, & despair. Let me give you a list of things to help ease the feeling of death, dying, and despair.

  • All else fails just keep breathing. This will ensure you stay alive for the foreseeable future.
  • Be prepared to not go out for a bit. Knowing you are prepared can help easy the anxiety of running out of essential items like toilet paper.
  • Move your body! Start your own home yoga practice. There are tons of yoga videos on YouTube that you can watch and get your yoga on…..and I will be putting up a few for as well as a donation based video yoga series.
  • Interact with your friends & loved ones in anyway that is apart of social distancing. Face-time, Google Hangouts, Skype, Discord. You name it, find it, and use it. Human connection is very important in this time of isolation and quarantine.
  • Relax and don’t stress out! Stress will kill your immune system quickly and right now we all need help keeping our immune systems high functioning.
  • Last, but not least laugh & smile it will do your mind and body all the good.

Stay safe & Covid-19 free during this time of quarantine. We’ll talk soon!

-Leah

Reconnecting With Nature

During transitional and transformational periods of life we (as people) tend to question why, how, and what the hell is happening to me.  Maybe we feel one of these words or statements for than the other, but the feeling is still there and the change that we are oh so dreading is there for an open ended stay….and if you look farther into the idea of change, stability, and the relationship it has within each human, you realize that everything is constantly changing (even if we don’t realize it).  So, we need change to stay stable, well at least minor changes.

The first 10 days in June bitch slapped me so far back it left me it took me days to learn how to stand up again, another few to realize what it was life to function, and a few weeks to to not feel like I was empty and dead on the inside (well, I am still working on that).  So, being Leah the typical thing to do would be drive herself into working all the time, doing things, trying to stay busy, and slap a smile on her face when anyone would ask if something was wrong.  Because eventually one of two things would happen.  I would either forget about what was going on temporarily and then feel the wave of emotion hit afterwards or I would just work myself into the ground and still feel all of the feelings towards the few different situations.  So, I did what all the best people do and I combined both together and decided to work a summer solstice retreat in the woods this saturday.

So, on Saturday I woke up early packed up my chair massage, food for the day, equipment for the day, and found a tad bit of sanity and left for Marengo, IL to celebrate the summer solstice with some wonderful humans.  The drive was about an hour and I got lost a few times, but with multiple cups of coffee in me I finally made it to the campground.  As I walked up to the pavilion where all the classes and workshops were happening I felt a sense of calmness take over.  Granted I knew no one in and around the area (I am kind of a lone duck when it comes to wellness situations, I am the odd one out).  So I walked up to the pavilion and noticed that the group was just starting a ceremony of some sort (again I am not fully knowledgeable with all of the wellness stuff that I encountered on saturday).  So I quietly walked up, sat down, and just enjoyed what was happening.  I couldn’t tell you what was happening, but I enjoyed all of the things that were happening.  I could feel people reconnecting with themselves and the healing energy from this particular event/ceremony.  It was refreshing, uplifting, and lovely to witness.  I also couldn’t help, but think that I had to teach after this!?!?!?  How the hell was I going to compete with the loveliness of this ceremony?  The truth was I wasn’t and I quickly made peace with this.  Once the ceremony was over I quickly and quietly looked over my lesson and realized I hated what I planned and said (to myself), “Fuck it, lets wing this bitch,” and class started.  The class flowed how the universe thought it would and as I ended classes some anxiety fled into my mind, but I quieted back down and ate some lunch and set up for 6 hours of chair massage (yes six hours will little breaks in between).  During this time I had a lot of time to think, while I was working (yes, I am a woman and sometimes I can multi-task, I said sometimes).  And I did come to an interesting conclusion…..

I deserve what I put into my work, my different jobs, my passions, my loves, my personal universe, and the universe in general.  I am deserving of it, of all of it; evening if right at this moment I don’t feel like I am.  I just need to relax, take a step back and realize that I can do this, and I will be able to move forward in my life which or without certain individuals, situations, and be able to get over huge ass obstacles that I thought would just destroy me in the long run.

This is the mindset that I will strive to have going forward through this life journey of crazy things.  Will I fail at keeping this attitude?  Yes, most definitely.  But, at least I know that it will be temporary failure and not a permanent state at being.  Lessons will be learned and life will be lived.  The main thing I need to remember is, I am worth it and I too deserve happiness.

Namaste Everyone, May Your Day Be Short & Your Coffee Be Ever Flowing.

-Leah