Good day all, I hope you are all well ...
Things are moving pretty quickly as far as appointments. In the last 48 hours I have had five things scheduled: dental, breathing, heart, social worker, and a body scan. Tuesday is "VA" day, and all of this batch of tests will be done by the 16th.
Other than a very slight case of HE (https://www.mylifeline.org/WindAndRaven/learningli...), I have had no noticeable change in my health other than that which already existed for the past six years.
I have decided to reverse course after the last two months of re-introducing non-vegan items to my diet. Which I not going full on vegan this time, I am going to drastically cut things like eggs, dairy, and anything other than lean organic meat (and even then, very little). I noticed after going back to eating these other foods I felt much more grounded, less "thin", and it was nice.
However, the byproduct of eating these foods are not worth their overall negative impact. That said, next Christmas it will be impossible to get into the ham and turkey--jes sayin'.
I have had conflicting reports on how long I should expect to wait for a new liver. One person said as few as a couple of weeks, while another said it would likely be a year or more and as many as ten. Who knows, who cares, I can't change it, so whatever.
The only thing for sure is that something will happen. I can just put myself in the best place physically, emotionally, and spiritually so that when what ever that is arrives I am prepared from my end.
Still, the sooner the better would be awesome so I can get back to my pre 2011 live.
Thanks again to all of you for being there for me in this hour, and together we got this.
Happy (almost) New Year!!!!!
My new years resolution is to be more upbeat and help others whenever I can. I challenge you to do the same. Stop and smell the roses, touch the bark of a tree, feel the warmth of the sun on your cheeks, listen to the birds sing, and sing the song of your heart--loudly.
I hope you are all well today, I wasn't earlier, but am now. Last night, at about 3 a.m. I was visited by my Grendal. He comes in the form of constricting pain and begins suddenly and quickly dominates the physical world.
Let me explain.
As part of the effort to prevent edema in my lower legs and feet I have been prescribed a diuretic. This believed to be one of the causes of extreme muscle cramps in my legs and feet, and they almost always hit at night. Last evening, I was sleeping in a much dryer environment that in Georgia, and there were heaters going to further dry the air.
Grendal answered the call and stuck violently about 3. My inner thighs, but deep inside to where they remain beyond massaging (at least by me), that then descends down my shins like a zipper on to my feet. Then the toes start to bend at every joint, in the wrong direction.
After about an hour of this I started to give in. I thought of just lying back and letting the pain take over, to transmute it somehow into a hypnotic vehicle to propel me out of the pain. It was then I glanced over and saw I had just received a message.
It was my healer, many miles away, asking "How are you?" Emotion poured out as I tried to message back, I couldn't for my hands too were cramping. I pushed the microphone button and said "Pain".
"Lay back, I will start working on you from here," came the reply. Within seconds I could see in my mind long arms with long fingers coming my way. Was I delirious with pain? Who knows. Who cares.
The pain started to subside. I then saw a great rib caged over me as I lay there, it opened to me and encased me and all pain instantly went away.
I am the most grateful and feel like the most loved person in the world right now.
Back to last night. I then was able to type, but neither could talk due to the hour. We exchanged messages for about an hour. I felt so at ease that I drifted off to sleep and stayed in a deep slumber until about 8 a.m.
The reason I tell this story is to remind those who already feel Spirit strong in their lives, and for those who do not, to know that on this day, as on every day, Spirit is alive and well. We are joined by it, we are it, and it holds us.
I left you yesterday with words to go out and do something for the world, today go in and love yourself. When you do, you allow your light to shine so brightly that it can been seen and in times when it dims those who love you can see that and come to your aid.
I am proof.
Love yourself today, and all the days. Live, let live, and laugh. Sing, yell at the top of the your lungs that you are here, you are here.
I love you all,
Góðan daginn friends and family,
I had the great honor of leading a portion of a Yule celebration here in Athens among friends and families last night. It was beautiful, and it was especially good to see many children among us not only so that they too can be aware of our traditional ways, but also because like Yule and the Winter Solstice, it is a time to celebrate the return of the light, and indeed children are our light.
I had a moment near the close of the facet of the gathering which I was leading. Spirit had flowed through me as I recounted the tale of Odin's ride on Sleipnir across the nine realms to Hel [both the name of the place and the goddess who resides there] to retrieve the slain Baldr the Beautiful, the shining one.
It is a rich story that covers a lot of ground, so to speak, as far as the many messages it conveys. But I specifically I made the evening about Odin's eight legged horse Sleipnir. I will not go into the particulars here, but if you invite me over some time I am always glad to share these coffers of wisdom.
It was what happened at the end of the journey (think deep mediation if you are unfamiliar with the term, it is kinda like that only deeper, much deeper). I had been rattling a consistent three beats a second for about 10-15 minutes and slowed so that everyone could return.
Then, as I sat the rattles down, stood up, and began to sing Morning Sun, a shamanic song from a great teacher.
As I made my through the lines, "Morning sun, morning sun, come my way, come my way." Three more times of the same line, then "Come my way, come my way, take my pain, take my pain", it began to set in, in the solo voice there was a crack. "Take my pain, take my pain, down below, down below", the damn is breaking now piece by quivering piece. "Down below, down below, cool water down below," four times and I fall to my knees weepy and messy. That moment is with me now.
I am glad that my children Boone and Luna were not in the room to see this, and I was quickly comforted by my dear friend Jacqueline who rushed quickly to my side, but was a messy couple of minutes.
I sleep alone and have for a long time. It gets lonely, and the flat spot next to me is always cold. To help with this, I no longer "get under the sheets". Instead, I sleep on top of a quilt my grandmother made (don't worry it is washed regularly like "normal" sheets), and I just toss about eight blankets of various thickness on the bed and dive in.
This morning, about four, I was cold, but instead of pulling up my Icelandic wool, which is my go to emergency response team, I pulled across my chest and shoulders a relatively small blanket that is a heavy weave with gaps between the woven strands. My fleece blanket was having non of it and was being difficult in accommodating this strange, somewhat odd, blanket.
As I twisted and got way too awake for such a thing it occurred to me that the fleece no longer felt important. Like it was being replaced.
Then I was taken back to the Yule journey. As my friends were lying around on their journeys I had been walking around the room rattling. I was so happy to be doing this. I was so happy to see people who remember that we have deeper roots than just being Americans, or Christians, or Jews, or whatever box we choose to sit in today, that we go back much further.
This journey, on which I had placed them on the back of Sleipnir for a ride across the realms, was taking them to the place of their ancestors. If only for a little while, they were free, and not like American free, but free free. Freedom from even being free. Nothing and everything at once.
At these gatherings, people often say very nice things to me about the power they felt. It happens every time, and it happens with people on their first time, but it isn't me. I am a hollow bone through which Spirit flows and nothing more.
So, while I had been rattling I thought to myself, "Once again I put myself first. In living too recklessly as a youth, and even as a man, I may have danced too close to the edge and now could be lost) . What was I taking from these people? Who will do this when I am gone. There are a lot of people who do what I do that have heavy Native American, or South American, or some other distant tradition and that is great, it is just fine. But I am all Celtic and Norse, and there are relatively few who do this work in that setting.
Will these people ever hear of Heimdalr, or my beloved Danu, or anyone them should I fall?
So, as I lay there negotiating a peace between the fleece blanket and the new comer I realized it didn't really matter which I pulled across me, for both would keep me warm.
I know that my teacher Cancer is showing me these things, and I know it is working. I am grateful to Cancer for this expanding awareness I am undergoing. When I was diagnosed with cirrhosis six years ago it changed me in one day. No longer was almost anything from the day before important to me. In face, I actively undid all that I thought I believed because I had not explanation for how I had manged to get to a diagnosis of 3-5 years.
I walked out of the hospital not believe that at all. I have not had any desire to include drinking in my life since that day. In time I went vegan, and through it all I rededicated my life to help at least one person not get to the place I was in.
I began working with people in substance misuse Recovery, then I had my first individual client, and 15 months later he left fully sober and is living a happy life today. He still texts me from time to time, he calls me now his "Sage", and every time he does I momentarily get a bit weepy.
I am no Sage, I am Steve. That is all, and that is enough.
So that brings us to the blankets again, I don't really know who claimed the choice spot over my heart, but one of them did, and that too was enough.
It does not matter in the end, who did what, what matters is that it got done. We are all in this together. Someone will be there for my spirit tribe should I need to take leave, and that person will also warm their hearts.
I now see that life itself is all that matters. We are just pieces of the action as my mentor Larry Walton would say (he has never heard me refer to him in that way until say that until now),
We are all in this together. We are all in this together.
Happy Holidays everyone. I am leaving for Chicago today and won't be back until the middle of next week.
Do me a favor would you. Don't go out today and do something nice for just someone, go out and do something wonderful for the world.
I love you all,
A healer that I have the utmost admiration of and confidence in will be working with me through this process in our own way. Though we are separated by the many miles between Georgia and Sweden, this will not change the potency of such a healing.
For many years I have wanted to travel to meet with him but life always came in the way. Now, at this hour of real life and not the trite expression, he is there for me as I know one would. There is a third person involved in this as well, and the experience for that person will be a unique and possibly life changing.
LIFE is good
All of it, that which is in all of us, which binds us and holds us.
Have a great day everybody, and always look to the bright side of the road.
I received a call the VA in Augusta today, that is where all the GI stuff was being done. They wanted to let me know that they had completed the mountain of paperwork they needed to get together, including an exhaustive report from my GI Doc., and and sent it up the chain to go to the transplant people in Nashville.
One thing to keep in mind with the dates below, due to travelling to Chicago for Christmas, and regardless Christmas itself impact on the overall time of year as it pertains to scheduling, that the process will start the week of the 1st of January.
I will have more things done here before the officially getting on the list.
1 - All tests that remain to be done that they can perform. This would be either blood samples of scans. I have give about 30 tubes of blood in the past month, so they are good there, but any other test that is more than five months old (none are) or that have not been done will be in either Athens or August in the next three weeks.
2 - Mental health evaluation - Done, I am in indeed nuts. Naw, I passed.
3 - Social Worker evaluation - Do people love me, can people help me in recovery, do I have a home. All of that. We will pass that one with flying colors.
The third one can still be pending to be on the list, so we just need the tests that remain so far as we know, and we have to wait to hear from Nashville know what they are.
The doctor that called said that it would move pretty quickly, and that has been my experience so far.
When we get to this point I will pretty much be in the care of Nashville. I will get be give a lot of documents to fill out (might get those earlier who knows) and then all the logistical considerations of getting there, etc., full rundown of what to expect as far as all aspects.
If things continue as they have we should be, by the second or third week of January, fully on board. Then I could get the call at any time.
Life is good, and thank you to all of you for keeping me in mind at this time of year when we have so many things going on in our day-to-day lives. It is nice to know that there is still room for me in there.
I love you all.
Good morning beautiful people,
Today, I will be get at least some information on the transition from Augusta (GI) to Nashville (transplant).
Here are more details on where we stand....
-- The tumor is about four centimeters at last sighting and of course growing.
-- It has picked up residence in a liver that was over 50% dead scar tissue brought on by the cirrhosis which was brought on by the, still main culprit, Hep C and an over the top rock and roll lifestyle that had a run of about 25 years. While the lifestyle is gone (the RR part has attached itself to my soul and well, it isn't leaving) the Hep C remained, but we did know this until the past six weeks or so.
The will not attempt to clear the Hep C due to the overall condition of the liver, but they will as part of the new liver, etc.
The fact that the tumor is in largely dead tissue is good since it could slow the growth. However, it still grows, and it could spread, and there is the continued assault of the Hep C.
So, it is a race between transplant and the various antagonists. That is why days like today are important. We need to get the ball rolling on the transplant side as the other side is doing its thing unimpeded.
At this point, my only really big concern (of course there are others, but I have to manage what I allow to bother me that I can not change, and that is very little) is after transplant. It will remove the cancer, and there is always the chance is spreads, we will deal with that should it happen. However, the high powered, very addictive, opiods that they will want me to take scare the crap out of me. I don't want in my life again, at all. I would choose the pain if it were pain that I could actually deal with, but I doubt I can manage that pain emotionally for a month or six weeks.
I really am at a loss for that part of the process. I once told myself that I would rather die than become an active drinker again. I don't want to die certainly, but I still believe what I said, and I know there is an answer for me out there. It may be illegal in my state, or nation, but that does not concern me. What concerns me is ever feeling a craving again, because that is the lowest pit in hell.
I received an email from the VA telling me that an appointment with the transplant folks is where we are at and that they should be calling any time. Being that they are in Nashville and that is about seven hours away, I am not sure how this is going to work. That said, the VA have been rock stars through all of this and have provided transportation, but that was to Augusta which is two hours away.
In other news, I was doing some "Love Talking", it's an old Celtic thing, this morning in which you look for the beauty in two things.
Beautiful is _____ because of blah blah blah, and beautiful too is _____ because of other blahs.
It was nice and uplifting as it always is, but I ended with one that just came out of nowhere. I had similar situation years ago when I thanked a life threatening condition due to my mismanagement of by physical body for waking me up to my folly.
Beautiful is life, for it fills our bodies with love and light that never truly fades away, and beautiful too is cancer, my teacher, for it makes me love life even more, and that is a good thing any day.
So, I, we, need to shift all to what is positive, what is beautiful. The question is not why do we fight, the question is, what is worth fighting for? Life is worth fighting for, and cancer is reminding me for that, and for that, I am grateful.
I have something I want to let you know, and it is encouraging. A few weeks ago, I was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer. In the time since I have been back and forth to the VA for tests. Yesterday was my final visit to the GI department. They are moving me(my case) today to the transplant department. This is the only medical way to defeat this, but that does not mean it is the only way ....
We don't have to accept what has not even happened as being necessarily what will happen. All that we can do is to remain who we are and to love each other in this moment. We have gotten away from that as a people, but that does not mean it cannot be again.
So, at this time of Yule or Christmas or Hanukka or Id al-Fitar or Winter Solstice or the Day of the Return of the Wandering Goddess, who I believe I have found, remember to not only love those around you but to let that light encompasses all as one.
When we do that, anything is possible.
As harvest season unfolds, it is a time to reel in that which we have gathered during a summer of plenty. Did we prepare? If not, can we assess the resources we have a proceed without remorse of what has been and potential problems in the future.
As one I have long listened intently to Ram Dass says, can we "be here now"? It is in that space between what was and what is going to be is our personal power. That is the real us--the decision maker. The one who waits and acts.
The last two years have been a struggle at times for me to keep alive the waiting to see the path to success in the recovery field. When I had my personal crisis years ago, I felt that if I could help at least one person find a way to a fulfilling life to include substance abuse, then I could settle a debt of sorts for having realized my own salvation.
I did that in time and have since done so with several other individuals. My own recovery was made easy when I embraced shamanism and began journeying for guidance. Over time, the two have become very intertwined, particularly in my "clinical" work at two practices in Athens. Still, I could tell early on that the setting was not right, and thus for the past year I have been looking for a new setting, gathering my resources, and waiting.
The wait is nearly over. I will pass along more information as the dates near, but it looks as if by November 1st I will have a new office in Athens and be partnered with people who share a similar view on alternate recovery methods and recovery in general.
This move will give me the space to hold free peer-support SMART Recovery circles, work with individual clients, and start introducing my shamanic approach to recovery through focused intent. More on that as they are offered.
On the Celtic and Nordic front, I am journeying on a celebration/ceremony gathering that will be offered somewhere in Athens depending on space availability. The shamanic journey circle I host at Heart Path Studios is probably going to be reduced to twice a month. I will be holding a Rune Circle at Heart Space in Athens in November.
If you are on Facebook, be sure to stop by my page to keep up with what I have going on if you are interested.
Have a great day!
I recently facilitated a journey circle in Athens at Heart Path Studios in which we set the intention for those in attendance to enter into the Shamanic state of consciousnesses and merge with the spirit of Horse and try to overtake a rider on the road. This rider would perhaps be someone the journeyers know or did not know, but she or he had something to tell.
The evening went very well, and all had great experiences. I went back and dug up what I jotted down the first time I did this same kind of journey, and here is what I experienced and my reaction:
Intention for Journey to the Man on a Horse
Imagine yourself in nature in rolling green hills. Imagine yourself as a horse as you walk, feel the muscles and heart as you start to trot, then gallop, and then run. Notice if any animal might appear for you along the way. Ahead you see a man on a horse. This person is someone is important to you, though you might not know them yet. When you catch up to him, ask him for any guidance he might have for you…..
With the intention set, I charged up a bit with a rattle then laid down with a loud drum track, and this is what I wrote down afterwards:
I was in rolling green hills, but they were not as bright as I had expected when preparing for the journey, instead they were darker shades of green. I felt the sensation of walking on all fours, then my chest muscles began to feel the impact of my long front legs as I began to trot the gallop. The choppiness gave way a feeling like swimming or flying as I gracefully passed over the land at a very high speed.
Suddenly, from my left, a man’s face appeared looking right at me. He had sharp features, and two or three feathers on either side of his face coming out of his cheekbones and extending just beyond his ears. His brow looked liked feathers as well, but just from one side of a quill. Where they met, just above the spot between his eyes and the top of his nose, was what looked like a sharp downturned triangular beak. The rest of his features were normal, but I could not see his body. He then turned quickly into an Owl and flew above me and started to circle the moon in what was now the night sky. Opposite the Owl, on the same trajectory, was a Raven. Then the scene was gone and I was again running in the green hills.
I spied what appeared a silhouette of a rider, but I could not be sure because there was a lot of undergrowth in that area. I galloped to that spot and came upon a man whose features were deep brown and weatherbeaten. He reminded me of an Aboriginal from Australia. He turned to look at me and was gone and where he was, but a few feet beyond, was a tall thin man with gray skin and wiry hair that looked like he was having a really bad static cling hair day.
He was naked, and kind of looked like ash. His eyes were a turbulent blue with a slight glow surrounding set in deep dark sockets. His appearance did not frighten me in any way. I felt very peaceful in his presence.
I asked him for advice or direction as I venture into this new land.
“Remain betwixt and between, one foot in both worlds, for if you come to this one too fast you will go mad, but if you stay in the other you will likewise go mad.”
He paused, his eyes got bigger, and I got the feeling he was trying to test my conviction because his look was very startled and stern at the same time. He then softened and said:
“Let this path unfold for you at its own pace, for one day soon you will remain here.”
I paused, and asked if there were any changes I could make in the world I come from that can provide the grace I will need do this work with honor and integrity.
“That is for you to determine, you know when you do the right thing, and in that resides your integrity. But one thing, never take nature for granted and give thanks for all that you receive from man or dog or tree or water (he went on for quite a while with these ‘or ____’), and protect all life always.”
I thanked him and asked if I could come back and see him again and he said yes. I then asked how I should find him.
“Go into the mist and call my name.”
I asked what his name was and he said Sam. I asked if I knew him somehow.
“Yes, I am one of your ancestors, and I have a lot to tell you.”
With that he faded backwards into mist, and for the first time I noticed I was no longer in a path, but a clearing, and all I could see around me was the mist.
I looked up to see the Owl descending and then hovered before me. I asked if it would like to come with me on this journey and it told me yes.
I then reared up on my back lets. My front hooves were scratching at the air and I got the feeling I was breaking through something. As my front hooves hit the ground I let out a huge breath through my nostrils and the wind blew away that before and I again saw the hills. I galloped back the way I had come with Owl flying by my side.
Arriving at a small stream, I resumed the form of a man. With one foot on dry land I launched to the other over the small stream and the moment my foot hit the ground on the far side I was upright over the stream and through the gate into my sacred garden. I turned and thanked the ancestors, the ...the spirits of the forest, and sat up.
The name Sam has long held a special place in my heart. As a young boy in a small rural country town, my best friend’s first name was Sam. We were inseparable, playing in the woods, running endlessly down the rows of corn that surrounded our town in fields lying between thick fingers of forest that followed the many streams. The black dirt of ...as always a welcome relief to our feet as we dashed from here to there without a care in the world. It all came to an end when I was whisked away to the big city to live with my mother. After moving, I rarely visited tiny ...and I never saw Sam again. The memory of him and the time we had as just kids is the last of a enchanted childhood in a wonderland of nature.
While I could probably come up with a reflection on every facet of this rather involved journey, I want to skip to what I think it all means. Like the Otherworld, Sam is a place that is neither here nor there, a place I can go, sort of, but not in a complete physical way, and certainly not back in time. Still, as the feathered man showed me, if I step outside of where I had been headed I may still find enchantment right now, and become like the Owl with its cunning, patience, watchful eye that is aware of much more than it may seem.
To do that, I must reach for that non-ordinary place while staying grounded in the ordinary place. The same goes for my approach to all of nature. I am not a part of nature, I am nature, so there is nothing else to do by see a symbiotic relationship in everything regardless of if I agree with it, or even find it can’t seem to find it pleasant to be around. I am no more important and anything, because I am everything. It is not possible, and to think so would only be a vain effort of hubris.
If I can live with the integrity this knowledge beacons, and that is what Sam, my ancestory and best friend, want me to do. The Owl and the Raven, circling in concert, each lifted by the tailwinds of the other, and one.