there will be no way to fail

i got me the end-of-summer, don’t-know-how-i’m-gonna-pay-my-phone-bill, wish-i-could-trade-in-my-coparent blues. i’m also jumping for joy because i get to be the field science group activity leader at quinn’s school in exchange for his part time tuition for this fall. still, i know i need to do some self care to get the funk out. the other day i drew some cards out of my two card decks of divining/encouragement cards; one set came as a gift from mary and one i bought from pixie, and both have messages that hit home for me whenever i take a minute to draw one.


first i held in mind my love, my incredible man, and our incredible relationship, which for whatever reason i still manage to feel insecure about every now and then, because how could anyone possibly love all of me, through all the complicated twists and turns my life seems to take? i got these two cards:

you are delightful with a picture of a chipmunk on the front. i laughed out loud when i drew it! the squirrels and chipmunks have been rich’s entertainment/power animals out in the yard as he has been building us a shed and doing his own squirreling away for winter in the form of firewood. the message on the back added to the perfection: “a reminder that you get to just be… just be everything you are, even if it is messy or distasteful to others… and you are still delightful. your shadow and light, your beauty and ugliness, your joy and sorrow, all combines to the exact, full perfectness of you. consider offering yourself unconditional friendship.”

Picture 095 squirrely

one of rich’s buddies

that was just the message my insecure little heart needed, and it helped me hear the same message coming ever so steadily from the guy i was holding in mind. imagine giving myself friendship as unconditional as the friendship he offers me.

then i drew the fox card from pixie’s deck, entitled change. “fox is graceful change. she begins her process by opening up to new patterns she may not have considered before. fox changes herself to bring about a desired situation, not unlike shapeshifting. she may use camouflage or invisibility to burrow under and blend in if necessary, in order to find out how she fits in. she listens carefully, creates comfort all around her, and tunes into her instincts. her keen perception serves her well when the time comes to make a decision. fox cozies up and protects herself before she trots off into her new adventure- expecting the unexpected, willing to be guided.”

Picture 019 white fox1

“change” and “willing to be guided” jumped out at me.  i think there is always a point in a relationship where it graduates from being brand new to something more broken in. and while broken in is by far a more comfortable place to inhabit, there is change that goes along with all that, and we all know change can be uncomfortable. i feel like rich and i have set an amazing foundation in our first year and a half together, and i see our path stretching way out in front of us, so when i say insecure, it is really more like “does he still think i’m pretty?” not “will we stay together?” in terms of the level of doubts that cross my mind. just to be clear. and while he doesn’t give me long to consider those petty questions about “does he still…?” before he shows me in both word and action just exactly how he still does, i am a girl and sometimes a girl brain seems to go there, strong and fierce and feminist as she might be. the phrase “willing to be guided” stands out especially because i see a lot about my man that reminds me of my dad. i was not what you would call willing to be guided, when it came to my dad, and i’m sure he and my mom are getting a good chuckle reading this understatement. and sometimes when i list my “twenty reasons i am most likely going to fail at life” to rich out loud and he pulls me into a long hug and tells me, “you need to stop worrying. don’t force it. just let it come to you. relax.” or something along those lines that basically is his way of saying, “everything is okay, everything will be okay, or at the very least i powerfully want everything to be okay,” it reminds me of my dad saying the exact same thing to my mom. and somehow it makes me more able to open up to that type of guidance from rich and be able to relax into it, and open more and stress a little less.

also “creating comfort all around her” is a nice way to think of oneself as a mother/nanny/partner/friend who is busy, like the squirrels, tending children, storing food, and participating in family get togethers. i hope to embody fox in her comfort-creating ways.

Picture 034


just as amazing as the squirrel was the card i drew from mary’s deck for quinn; by which i meant that i held in mind my relationship with quinn and upcoming decisions involving quinn’s schooling. i promise i shuffled the deck! i drew, once again, castles in the sky. “our daydreams are how the unconscious tells us of our deepest yearnings… but just like dreams they are not always literal. (fantasizing really points to what our heart is missing.)”

my recent post hashing out my thoughts about schooling, yet again, took a little bit of courage to post, as it is for some reason a vulnerable spot for me, as well as a topic that right now contains some stuff i’m still holding close and working on. something about continuing to draw that card makes me feel like i have permission to keep having these ridiculously high hopes concerning quinn’s education.

Pictured 052

it also, of course, makes me think of quinn himself, little dreamer that he is. he actually informed me one night, in explanation of why he wouldn’t be able to get himself dressed the following morning before peach picking, that, “i’m just a dreamy guy.” i did my best to validate him on that extremely accurate self-knowledge while still requesting his help with getting dressed to go peach picking. he did end up helping, and funnily enough, my friend’s daughter who came along for the all-day peach/blueberry/raspberry-a-thon is cut from the same cloth, and the two of them frolicked happily together. you may say quinn’s a dreamer, but he’s not the only one. i can’t help being reminded of quinn long ago misquoting kermit the frog’s rainbow connection: ”the lovers, the streamers and me!


next i drew quinn’s card from pixie: stag. “stag wears the antlers that connect him to spirit and offer the gift of enhanced perceptions, tuning into the old teachings like marvelous antennae. he is able to detect most subtle shifts in energy and this provides him with the intuitive guidance he needs to navigate the enchanted forests of life. gently, softly and sometimes even quietly, stag communes with the earth and the sky. this is a reminder to take excellent care of oneself, to gently love ourselves and those around us, and to honor the deep connections that welcome us home from our adventures in the wild.”

take care of oneself… that’s just what i set out to do when i pulled out the cards. reconnecting with the spirit world is always a good idea for me when i am feeling run down and unsure.

Picture 086 elk

the thing i like about these card decks, is there is magic to it, and it really is what you make of it. it’s not a yes or no answer to a straightforward question. it doesn’t mean quinn  and i are stags or that either of us has all of what the card says going on inside, but there is always some gem that resonates with exactly where i am in the moment.

Picture 116 mouse


i think both quinn and i have been tuned into some higher frequencies lately, and we have had some very poignant discussions, launched by pointed questions from the lad. he seems to be chipping away at the effort of piecing together his life narrative in a way that has him asking some very hard questions about topics i would not have brought up with my six year old if he hadn’t asked. i assume he is doing this so he can best navigate the enchanted forests of life, as it were, but i am also having to tap into the old teachings, the intuition, in order to come to this place of understanding how much to say, how to say it, and to understand why he needs to hear it, and help him reflect on and understand why, himself. we had one very emotional discussion (that may be euphemistic) in which i definitely had to tune my antlers in really well to a) not react/stifle/shut him down and b) get what he was really feeling, and reflect it back to him, even though he didn’t have the words to say what his real feelings were.

quinn, all resistance and fury regarding a transition: “i don’t want to go back and forth and i don’t like it and i’m NOT going to go EVER AGAIN.

mama, trying to be a container for that rage, and to help interpret: ”do you wish  for us to be all together in one house so you wouldn’t have to go back and forth? does it make you sad to always miss either dada or me?”

quinn: “yeah!” (crying and softening into a puddle in my lap in the driver’s seat of the parked car, moments before leaving my lap to go with his dad.)

he has also asked me for a very detailed account of how and why we left portland when he was one, the circumstances behind why i left his dad, and how that all happened. i told him pretty much everything. when i was done i asked if he had gotten the answers he was looking for (he had) and whether i had told him more than he wanted to know (i hadn’t- it was exactly the right amount) and let him know he could always come to me with any questions or with anything he ever wanted to tell me or talk about. he moved on to something else in such a flash it was almost disconcerting to me. i myself continued to mull it all over for quite a while afterwards.  i concluded yet again that children are incredible. i am so happy he asked because he seemed to be lighter and freer and just plain happier, just knowing some more of his own back story- even though that segment wasn’t a particularly pretty one.

Picture 074 lily

lightness of being


what remains (photo of beach finds: a feather, half a seabird’s egg shell, bits of a crab’s shell leftover after it had been devoured.) “after loss or transition, what are we left with? in terms of your own past, what places are still there and what do you carry with you? inquiry into what you hold on to may lead to acceptance and then release.” transitions, huh?

taking a leaf out of quinn’s book, i guess maybe i can also examine my narrative in places where it isn’t so pretty, just to know it, and then walk on with more lightness in my step.

Picture 103 lights

very big ideas

and finally, go wild believing, a painting of buffalo by pixie. “this colorful painting was made in the spirit of trusting the imagination- the idea that if we put our ideas together with our strength, there will be no way to fail. buffalo never forces, but gently uncovers the tender green grass beneath the snow. she teaches us to keep moving ahead, muscling the way toward our very big ideas. “

Picture 108 hum

it goes on, “buffalo brings teachings that help us stay on the path that is leading in the direction toward authenticity and reverence. she carries medicine for higher visions and hope for peace among peoples. buffalo teaches us how to walk like a living prayer, at one with ourselves, spirit, open to give and to receive. buffalo is sacred gratitude for all lessons that come and trust that the winters will be survived. she teaches us how to live just the way we want to, to honor ourselves and the planet simultaneously. buffalo offers the assurance that when we walk our authentic path, we are honoring all life.”

i got choked up at “there will be no way to fail” and then really lost it at “trust that the winters will be survived.” this final card really drove it all home.

i have the opportunity to lead field science group activities at ols in trade for tuition for quinn for this coming school year. quinn’s teacher feels we are going to be a perfect team, because she feels strong in classroom science, which is where i have the least experience. there is the inevitable last hurdle of appealing to my coparent’s better nature and the seemingly impossible task of getting him on board. i am really trusting that by putting this big idea of mine together with my strength, as buffalo teaches, that there will be no way to fail.

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