hello . . . Spirit calling. is anyone there? by Erica Kathleen

one thing I have realized lately, is that some people WANT to change, and some don't.

some people YEARN for growth, and others run from it.

that was a good wake up call for me, because i just kind of ASSumed that everyone wants to get better, right? no. not right, Erica.

i don't even know why i would assume that, because i was "stuck" in a really shitty place for a really long time (20 years, ahem). and you know what? i wasn't ready to change, until i was good & FUCKING READY!  

before i realized this (that people will only change when they are ready) . . . i was on a personal mission to SAVE PEOPLE. i tried to save an old lady at the liquor store whose husband was yelling at her & hitting her. i tried to save the girl at the bar whose boyfriend punched her upside the head. i tried to save a friend who SAID she wanted out of her abusive marriage, but kept going back. i tried to save another friend from drinking herself to death. i tried to save everybody. i really did.

guess which ones i saved??? not ONE of them. NOT ONE. the old lady in the liquor store went back to the man that had beat her for 70 years. the girl in the bar yelled at me for ruining her life when her boyfriend got taken away by the police. the friend left the abusive marriage, but abuses herself & everyone in her life, daily. and the other friend DID drink herself to death.

when i was in this "i'm gonna save everybody" phase, a good friend of mine looked at me & said, "that's kind of cocky don't you think? who put you in charge of saving these people? who gave you that job? what makes you think they are not exactly where they're supposed to be?" . . . . . . . hmmmmm. (I have really smart friends ;)

so, who CAN i save? well dear, look in the mirror. me, and only me. and i'm cool with that ;)

back to the "wanting to change . . . wanting to heal . . . wanting to face that deep fucking hurt, see it, honor it, move through it  . " YES. (facing your fears, like the "Dragon Slayer" above that I painted last week. That's what she's ALL ABOUT!)

so, last year, i did this really amazing thing, and when i came back, i WANTED to share it. i wanted to tell you all about it, but i was hesitant. it was SACRED. it was MAGIC. it was mine.

it is time to share, because i realize that there are people ACHING for healing & growth. this is such an amazing opportunity.

this healing took place over a weekend in the gorgeous mountains of Utah.  Tammy (who I didn't know from Martha Stewart) said, "hey! i'm doin this woman's healing retreat thing. do you wanna come?" (reeeeal casual like). well . . . . .sure. 

the first time i looked into her eyes, i knew i was safe, and i knew something huge was about to happen. i knew Spirit guided her to me.

Tammy is a medicine woman, a healer, a shaman. Spirit moves & acts through her. she is beautiful & gentle & kind & full of love & connected to Spirit. (BTW, she would never say any of these things about herself. she is WAY too humble. but you know me, & i tell it like it is. so, there we have it)

i am not going to share the details of exactly "what" happened, because it is very sacred. but i will tell you that the weekend started with 8 strangers in the mountains. we worked, we felt, we saw, we honored, we listened, we broke open, and we broke free. it was the most difficult, beautiful, amazing spiritual experience i have ever been a part of. EVER.

we each did our own work, but there is also work that is done together. MY WORK? what happened when it was my turn in the circle? CRAZIEST, MIND BLOWING, BREAKING OPEN & FREE EVER!!!

let me explain it with my art. i was SOOOOO MOVED by the work that we did, by the work that these women, who were complete strangers the day before, what they did FOR ME . . . that when it was all said & done, I gave them each, one of my original paintings. THAT is how i expressed my gratitude to them, for what they did for me. THAT is how powerful this was.

I gave my original paintings of "I choose Letting Go", "I choose Light", "I choose Truth", & "I choose Forgiveness" to four of the women.

I gave my original painting of "She Found Peace" to Stephanie.

 

I gave my original "Shapeshifter" painting to Nancy (& it now hangs in House of Heart, the lodge where the healing circles are held).

 

and i PAINTED this "Hawk Medicine" when i came home from the weekend. THIS is how i felt. if i could wrap the experience up in a picture, THIS is it.

i gave this original painting to Tammy in a small gesture of the enormous gratitude & love for the experience & what she had done for me.  it now hangs in House of Heart.

i am telling you all of this, a) because it's AWESOME, and b) there is opportunity for you to participate.

it is an amazing experience IF you are tired of carrying your old shit, IF you are ready for change, IF you are willing to do some deep work, IF you want to get unstuck, IF you want to peel back some layers, IF you are ready & willing to break open, so that you can break free.

the next workshop is July 25-27th. Space is very limited. 

Contact Tammy to register #801-548-2287 or at tammy.isisdistributing@yahoo.com

ps. it is worth EVERY penny & more!

XOXOXOXOXO

big LOVES,

EK

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wild women sisterhood by Erica Kathleen

This past weekend, I attended the Wild Women Symposium, in Provo, Utah. I went as a vendor, to sell my art, and while, yes, that did happen, there was SOOOO MUCH MORE. I wasn't planning on attending any of the classes, but once I met the instructors & some of the amazing women attending . . . well, I'm just going to show you what I wrote to all of these beautiful souls, after I got home . . . and show you the art that is overflowing out of my heart . . . (click on each photo to see the feather art in my shop) . . .

"hi! me again  just want to express HUGE gratitude & LOVE to Jennifer Stanchfield (aka sparklepants) for creating the safe space, turning the volume WAY THE FUCK UP & teaching us how to use the tools. I just blasted shamanic music, hands & knees on my mat, eyes closed, & moved, danced, connected with & called IN my sensual, wild, POWERFUL self. THANK YOU, sister.    and . . . I was so excited yesterday, that I forgot to share this at the closing circle, but, I really know that everything happened in divine right order. I only made it to 2 of the classes . . . the last 2 of the whole weekend. well, and Zumba, the night before. so... here's my "share", about my experiences, a day late . . . so, I have suffered chronic pain in my back for a long time. I USED TO walk like an old woman. I USED to move like an old woman. I USED to wince in pain everytime I got up or down. Then, by way of happenstance (& Krysta) I ended up in this room full of women in workout clothes?! no bra. no shoes. never done zumba, but there i was, lookin' at Jackie's adorable face & smile & enthusiasm & energy & I was like, "ok? let's DO THIS!" . . . HOLY SHIT!!! SOMUCHFUN!!! my back was cracking & clicking & making all sorts of old-lady noises . . . I looked at Krysta, "ummmmm MAYBE I shouldn't be doing this?!!!" . . . she smiled, the way she does, and says, "MAYBE you should?" HA! well, I did! I even learned how to TWERK! Aparrently, I can shake my ass something fierce! SOMUCHFUN!!! walked out of zumba . . . not limping, not holding my back . . . feeling AMAZING. I went to bed expecting to be in HUGE pain the next morning, NOPE! no pain. SO GOOD! . . .

Then Emily climbed on me & pushed me & pulled me & stretched me till i thought i would break . . . (thai massage) . . . I would do "OWWWW!", expecting her to back off . . . . um, no. she laughed, and waited for me to BREATHE, then she stretched me further. holy smokes. THEN, was Jennifer's class . . (embodying the dark goddess) . . . moving breaking pains open. MOVING. not stopping. MOVING. connecting. MOVING. . . . . oh my. then we partnered. my sweetLeanne, with nothing but LOVE . . . SAW me . . . and SHOWED me, without words (cuz Jennifer kept yelling, 'NO CHATTING!" haha) . . SHOWED me how powerful I am & SHOWED me the power in a group of women. She SHOWED me that I don't have to fly solo . . . that there is power in the circle. my brain EXPLODED! for real. it did. and my heart cracked wide open. . . .

so, right after, was Leanne's breath class  . . (breath circle) . . . shamanic music, breathing, breathing, breathing, (OHMYGOD! can we STOP breathing like this?!?!! NO.) . . . meditation. deep meditation. relaxing. alot of rocking my hips around. (that's where the pain was stuck) . . i couldnt lay still . . my hips wouldn't stop moving. breathing. it was all good & beautiful & nice & then ALLOFASUDDEN I get this HUGE message . . . my heart was disconnected. not broken. not weak. not loving less. but, completely DISCONNECTED from my body, like 2 separate entities . . & I have been living like this for a LONG time. (i'm a shitty eater. shitty at drinking water. just all around shitty at taking care of my human body). then the tears came. my heart hasn't felt safe in my body for so long, so it separated. my body has been in some pretty fucking terrifying places & had to deal with some pretty shitty stuff, so why WOULD my heart want to stay there? it wasn't safe, and so it left my body. so im laying on the mat, tears rolling, and then, because she knew, Leanne gently laid a blanket over me. i knew i was ok. more tears. then the moving stopped. a smile came to my face. my hands moved to my heart. and I quietly whispered, "it's safe now. come back." . . . and it did. 

 THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH Krysta, for taking my hand, Tonya & Suzanne for saying yes, Jackie for shaking your booty & my body, Emily for stretching me, Jennifer for rockin' my wild woman to the surface, Leanne for guiding me, and every single amazing woman that was there this weekend to step forward & make this circle. I love you, SO MUCH.  BIG, GIANT, HEARTtoHEART HUGS. xoxoxo, Erica"

I am forever changed by this past weekend. By the Sacred Circle of Wild Women that gathered & the work we did together. 

xoxoxoxoxoxo

EK

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 xoxo

growing pains from the cocoon by Erica Kathleen

everything was loud. everything was bright. everything felt chaotic. i felt sensitive & vulnerable. "you know what to do. make your cocoon. it is time.", i heard. and so, i did. 9 days ago i went off facebook & went inside myself. 

i wasn't sure what the outcome would be, i just knew it needed to happen.

here's how my brain works: BIG & in COMPLETED GOALS. you see, i have a hard time with small steps & small goals & the 'in between' phase. i want to go from where i am now, to where my brain SEES me after all the work is done. (my brain completely SKIPS the steps it will take to get there.) my brain works in pictures, big, beautiful, full color, moving, dancing pictures . . . & i see the END result, almost to a fault. with everything. i see the POTENTIAL, rather than what it is in that moment. i do that with people too. i SEE potential. 

so, i've been wanting to do this cleanse . . . it's like a week long, no food, crazy detox cleanse kind of a thing. i've had it in my mind for awhile that i am going to do this cleanse & get rid of all the built up toxins & when it's over i will be this peppy, sparkly, full of energy, amazing being. sounds, awesome, right?

so, my first waking up, unplugged from social media, i figured was a brilliant day to start this cleanse. i am also working with a friend of mine, who is a magic fairy (reiki & healing flower powers), and i thought, "sure, this will all be great!"

i missed my blog post & newsletter last week, because i was flat on my back in bed, (actually, i'm pretty sure i was in the fetal position. in tears). EVERYTHING HURT. my brain hurt. my eyes hurt. every muscle in my body hurt. my stomach hurt. and my heart hurt, ALOT. 

i wasn't eating (cause the cleanse instructions said no to, and i was damn determined to do this the right way.) i was drinking water. i was chugging organic apple juice mixed with this 'toxin absorber', that i'm sure it's entire purpose was to kill me, SLOWLY. 

being NOT plugged in to social media . . . i have slowly realized something. facebook is a really good god-damned way to distract yourself, FROM YOURSELF.

laying there, feeling like i was dying, i wanted to reach for my phone & plug back in . . . but i didn't. i wanted to read about someone else's life. i wanted someone to tell me that it would be ok. i wanted, SO BADLY, to NOT feel, what i was FEELING, (which, turns out, was more than feeling like i was dying).

the second morning, my flower fairy friend texted me & i told her what was going on. she basically advised me to pull back on my crazy-ass, over-the-top, detox mission . . . my liver was working overtime & couldn't handle it . . . letting go . . . releasing . . . physically, obviously, right? that's what a detox is, yes? physical cleansing.

or so i thought. but physical is tied to emotional. yes, i know this. but sometimes i forget, until i am reminded so HUGELY that it knocks me on my ass & i can't deny it.

flower fairy sent me reiki & flower magic & prescribed: food & rest. THANK GOD. (i think i actually thanked her, when she told me to eat).

so . . . here i was on day 2 of this . . . laying in bed (cause i literally couldn't sustain vertical for more than 2 minutes) . . . hurting, physically, SO BAD. every atom of  my human body was screaming. laying there, TRYING to just fall asleep . . . and then it started, little clips, like a snapshot. like a camera taking snapshots. FLASH! FLASH! FLASH! . . . cool, right? NO. not so much. these snapshots were like ugly fucking flashbacks of bad shit from my past. memories that were hidden. memories that my brain, in protecting me, stuffed away somewhere . . . (maybe in my body, and this goddamned detox made come back out?)

i think i actually said out loud, "NO. go away! i don't need you. i'm done with you. you're not welcome here." . . . (body screaming, fetal position, snapshots flashing) . . . then something WEIRD happened . . . i took a few really deep breaths & said (outloud again), "ok. go ahead. show me what i need to see." GULP.  . . . then the snapshots turned into movie clips. little movies playing in my mind. the exact scenario, just how it happened, in my brain. they were short, like 5-10 seconds. and as soon as one finished, another started. it was shitty. these weren't pretty memories. these were ugly & painful & they just played. they wanted to be SEEN, i guess, by the me that i am today. makes sense, right? because the me i was when these things happened, no longer exists. even the me i was a year ago, no longer here.

these memories wanted to be seen & FELT by the ME i have become. the ME who has been working so hard to heal & open her heart. the ME who sees and FEELS so very differently than the me of a few years ago.

there were many memories, but the ones that hurt the most, were the ones with my kids. the ones where i saw their innocent, little faces. the ones where i felt the pain in their hearts. the ones where their father was yelling at their mother. the ones where their mother put up with abuse. the ones where their mother closed part of herself off. the ones where their mother lost herself. the ones where their mother was weak. the ones where their mother was someone i don't even recognize today. the ones where their mother was quiet and scared. the ones where their mother showed them what marriage & love is about, and it was COMPLETELY FUCKED UP. the ones where their mother showed them, that when someone loves you, they hurt you. 

ouch.

laying there, tears streaming down my face, the pain in my body was instantly the same pain in my heart, and i, outloud, said, "OUCH! fucking OWWW!" like i just got cut open with the blade of truth. FUCKING OWWW. not, "poor me. i'm a victim. look what he did to me. look what he did to us." no. not that. no more of that. 

it was overwhelming. it was painful. it was growing pains like i've never felt before. AND IT FUCKING HURT!!!

it took me a few days to catch my breath, but when i did, i brought my 3 kids into one room and sat with them, and had a conversation we've never had before. it HURT, in the most amazing & freeing way.

"i am SO sorry. i am sorry that you saw the ugly things you did. i am sorry for the nasty things you heard. i am sorry that i showed you what love is NOT, and called it love. i am SO SORRY that i showed you the wrong things. i PRAY that i left soon enough. i PRAY that you know now, that was all wrong. i PRAY that you can see NOW, what real love is. Love is not yelling. Love is not screaming. Love is not making someone feel bad. love is not changing yourself for someone else. love is not small. love is not petty. love is not ugly. love doesn't intentionally inflict pain. i fucked up. i fucked up HUGE, for alot of years. i was wrong. i made mistakes. i am SOOOOO FUCKING SORRY for all of the ugly things i showed you. 

PLEASE give me another chance. PLEASE let me show you NOW, what Love IS. LOVE is kindness. LOVE is caring. LOVE is accepting. LOVE is giving. LOVE is nurturing. LOVE is gentle. LOVE is kind. LOVE feels good. LOVE fills you up. LOVE is SAFE.

I love you SOOOO MUCH. I am SOOO sorry for my mistakes. PLease forgive me."

So. Ya. that happened. it blew my mind & my heart wide open. i had no idea when i was told to make my cocoon, or go off facebook, or start a detox . . . that this would happen.

OUCH. it hurts. in the best way a pain could possibly hurt.

onion layer #367 peeled away. check.

jeeeeeeeeeeeeez.

now, i sleep.

xoxo

E.K.

 

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fighter by Erica Kathleen

so, my second tattoo, "fighter", is on the inside of my left wrist. like my "freedom" tattoo, i wanted it where i could see it every day, to remind me who i am. i am a fighter. i am stubborn. i am determined. i do not give up. sometimes i find myself in a puddle on the kitchen floor, wanting, with every cell in my body, to just give up, cuz that would be easier than to keep fighting . . . but i don't. there is something in me, bigger than that, and every time, i get back up & i fight for what i believe in, even when all the cards are stacked against me.

i have fought many battles in my life. i've fought physical battles, emotional terrorist battles, court wars,  . . . so many.

but that's not what this tattoo is about. this tattoo isn't about another person or a circumstance. this tattoo is about me, my heart & my soul. this tattoo is to remind me to FIGHT for who i am, who i want to be, how i want to show up in this world, who i want my children to learn from. this tattoo is to remind me not to give up, give in, or become like the darkness that hurt me.

you see, when you have been hurt so very deeply, all sorts of things happen . . . pain, anger, HATE, hardness, bitterness, shutting down of your heart, lashing out . . . all things i have experienced. i think they are part of the dealing & healing processes, but it is soooo easy to get stuck there, to live there, to BECOME that. UGLY. and that is NOT who i choose to be.

so this tattoo reminds me, daily, of who i am. it reminds me to FIGHT to stay true to myself, to stay open, and to be love. 

it reminds me to fight against the voices that say, "not good enough", "broken", damaged" . . . all that shit.

it reminds be to get up, stop pouting, and fight to hear the Voices of Truth, the Voice of LOVE, the Voice of Spirit. 

"you ARE good enough. you are SO enough. it is UNBELIEVABLE how enough you are."

"You are NOT broken. DOn't you see? the parts you call 'broken' are the very parts where your light shines the brightest."

that's what my "fighter" stands for.

i'm curious. what do you fight for? tell me.

xo,

EK

ps. Next week I am going to talk about what I have tattooed over my heart.

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freedom by Erica Kathleen


So, a few years ago, I got my first tattoo. Up until then, there was nothing that I could imagine wanting on my body FOREVER. Times change. People change. Tastes change. You know? And I'm not really a fan of being part of the 'in' crowd . . . wearing what everyone else is wearing, you know? I'm kinda my own island. Thank god I didn't get a tattoo in college, or else I'd be walking around with a big ass sunflower somewhere on my body (I was obsessed with sunflowers). 

Somewhere along my journey, there WAS something I wanted on my body FOREVER. With every cell of my being, I wanted this word inked on my skin until the day I die. I ached to have this word on my wrist as a reminder of everything I had been through & everything I had fought for, and to never, EVER take it for granted.

I'll try & make this short & not get into gory details . . . I'll give you the Cliff Notes version: 

I met this guy in college when I was 18. He was loud & charming & funny & FUN & everyone on campus knew him, he was the fun party guy. And talk about chaaarming! We were friends for awhile, then we got together.

Mostly fun.

Mostly charming.

But then, there are these incidents, that, fast forward 20 years, when I'm sitting in a lawyers office describing the horror that was my marriage, she 1) looks at me like I'm fucking nuts, and 2) says to me, "Why have you stayed so long? He wasn't ALWAYS like this, was he?" . . . to which I QUICKLY reply, "No!" . . . (duh! cuz that would mean I'm fucking stupid!) . . . then i gulp, and then the floodgates open & the suppressed memories (that apparently my brain had worked really fucking hard at forgetting) start flooding back in . . .

within the first few months of dating (we were in college) & he saw me sharing a cigarette with a friend of his & he abruptly stormed across the room, grabbed me by the arm & dragged me into the hallway & yelled & screamed in my face for an hour, telling me I was a fucking slut & a whore &  . . .

oh ya, I had forgotten about that.

then there was a time (again, in college) we were at a friends dorm, hanging out, drinking. In front of a room full of people, he hurled a huge wad of car keys at my face. For no reason. None. I was in such shock that I couldn't move. My friends swooped me up, took me to their room, told me he was a fucking asshole, I wasn't to go back with him & took care of me for a few days.

I was 5'4" 110 pounds. He was 6'2" 210 pounds & a defenseman on the college hockey team.

I went back.

I wore sunglasses to school for a week to hide my black eye.

My art professor begged me to take them off. I laughed, made a joke, refused to take them off. He just looked at me, with such love & compassion. He knew. I knew he knew. Neither of us said anything.

I forgot about that one too.

So, SHIT. Ya, I guess he HAD always been like that. 

For MOST of our 20 years together, those crazy rages happened when he was drunk. The next day he would say, "Why are you mad at me? Why are you being so cold to me?" . . . and I would say, "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?!!! AFTER WHAT YOU DID LAST NIGHT???" . . . . (I don't know how many times those words were said between us, but WAY too fucking many!) . . . Then he would get all sappy & sweet & say shit like, "Oh, come on babe! I was so drunk I don't even remember what I said! It wasn't me, it was the booze!" . . . and eventually, I'd give in. 

WE got married. I asked HIM. Fucked, I know.

WE had 3 wonderful, beautiful, amazing kids, who are the love of my life & have saved me more times than I can count.

Probably about 18 years into this, I think I finally started to wake up, when he "all of the sudden" quit drinking. I was SOOOO HAPPY!!!! I was SOOOO HOPEFUL! I thought, for SURE this would change things. I thought, AT LAST, we would be happy, that I would be happy.

Well, it did change things alright. I remember the first time it happened when he was sober . . . he was YELLING & SCREAMING & SWEARING & ACCUSING & the look?!?!!! OHMYGOD, the look in his eyes . . . he wanted to kill me. I had never seen that level of anger & rage & hate & evil before in my life . . . and here it was, standing over me, staring me in the face. OHMYGOD . . . that's when my alarms went off . . . it was NOT the booze, it was HIM! Holy Fuck, help me.

Yikes, I was trying to make this short . . .

I wanted a separation. He refused. "We are NEVER going to separate. We are NEVER getting divorced. Don't you EVER SAY THOSE WORDS AGAIN!"

I told my mom, "well, I'm fucked. I have to stay. I have no choice!" . . . Thank god for my mom. "Erica, that's why there's lawyers."

So, back to this tattoo . . .

This tattoo came, after fighting for my freedom in the Supreme Court of Canada for 2 years.

This tattoo came after I was told "We will NEVER be divorced!"

This tattoo came after he said, "You will NEVER go back to Utah & be with your family."

This tattoo came after my lawyer said, "There is NO WAY a judge is going to give you sole custody.

There is NO WAY a judge is going to let you take the kids & move out of the country!"

This tattoo came after being stalked, followed, harassed, having the police on speed dial, restraining orders, hiding, living in terror for too fucking long.

2 years, I fought. Every fucking day, with every ounce of my being. 2 years.

This tattoo came after I WON my fucking case in the Supreme Court of Canada.

This tattoo came after I DID get a divorce.

This tattoo came after the judge DID give me sole custody.

This tattoo came after the judge DID grant me permission to leave the country with the kids.

This tattoo came after I DID move back to Utah & be with my family.

This tattoo came after I finally stood up & said NO FUCKING MORE!

This tattoo came, after the long hard battle to win my FREEDOM.

Freedom, has a whole new, beautiful, amazing meaning when you have to fight so fucking hard for it.

xo,

EK

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