Wisdom Within

I challenge you to list at least 2 qualities about yourself that you find to be good. Then think of 2 good qualities about someone you fear or despise. I am not saying you have to like them now… some things and some people we need to stay away from for our own sanity and good health. Just surround them with light and picture the good in them (and in ourselves) growing stronger.

None of us deserve to be abused by others, either with words or physical harm. We also should not be abusing others.

Stop and breathe deeply a few times before reacting, in person or on facebook, and ask yourself if what you feel like saying back to someone is hurtful or helpful. Ask yourself what energy (back to you or others) will it invite in return. Will it cause an escalation of hate or bring about better understanding?

Try hard to take a moment in such situations and make a decision to Act rather than just React. Try to look at things from different points of view. Are you really understanding what they meant by the words they chose to speak? Ask for clarification. Perhaps agree to disagree agreeably rather than simply hating others for having a different point of view.

I myself am like a young child so much of the time, really not understanding so many hurtful things people can do or say, ofter without even thinking. I have done the same thing to others on occasion without meaning to. Why are we so quick to over react too often and throw out hurtful words, or cynical judgemental words? We were taught to Love one another, to love thy neighbor as thyself… is it a lack of self love that makes us lash out?

At the same time I am an old soul full of wisdom and compassion. That part is harder for me to accept. As I age, however, i am learning to invite in the Wise Woman, the Crone. What can she teach me, what do I have to teach others?

And so the journey continues. Thank you for walking alongside for portions along the way.

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Notes on PTSD

Notes on PTSD

I was asked “How has PTSD changed my views about myself”?

How indeed? In the beginnings I learned to trust less, doubt more, and hide from trouble and confusion.

I became less confident in my choices, in my abilities, my art, and my love.

I learned to be stronger in myself over time, until the next trauma knocked me down again.

Pulling myself back up time after time, dusting myself back off (frayed around the edges and missing pieces of my heart), putting one proverbial and physical foot in front of the other, I search continuously for the “right” way to go, and the “rightness” of new choices.

Some days I feel like a wise old sage… Others days are spent teetering on the edge of a dark abyss. Life is full of history, mystery, and presents.

I feel lazy, like a slug, a couch potato, and yet I feel too busy to think. I am the calm eye in the center of the storm, while also being the circling howling frantic winds of the hurricane.

I am strong and capable…

I am weak and hopeless…

I fear nothing, and yet stand shaking with terror.

My thoughts swirl in a metaphorical whirlpool, disappear into nothingness, and become calm and empty.

And then, add all this to the diagnosis of ADD, and sometimes it is hard to take a step forward out of fear,

but then I barge ahead like a bull in a china closet knocking over anything in my path.

Am I coming or going, or simply standing still? I’ve always been on the move jumping from subject to subject and place to place, until recently.

In the here and now, I find myself in this new place of holding still, being quiet, waiting for the winds of Heaven to dance through my soul and show me a path. 

I am Human. I am Woman.

Wild Soul Woman

A Wild Soul Woman… 1/30/18

Always have been! Somewhat slowed down, and wings dampened by the storms lately but still this is my nature and always has been. Many is the time in life when I laid on a mossy bed in the forest and felt the movement of the roots beneath the ground and the wind in the treetops. My spirit has flown with the Eagles and swim with the fish, and although recent years have pushed me into hibernation, I will yet fly again. There is so much more to this world and this life than just every day celebration and traumas, wars or parties. I have little patience for small talk, always looking for meaning in life and celebration of connections.

In Honor of Loved Ones

buddha statue in a foggy Columbia River Gorge, surrounded by snow.

Many of us have lost so many loved ones already this year, and it brings with it an occasional melancholy that can also be the doorway to good memories.   Today, processing photos from my archives, I ran across this set of images I took at a dear friends home in the White Salmon area.  Sharon  has passed away but I could feel her delight in nature and photography as I looked at these images of the Buddha statue in her yard.  Therefore, I will share these for the first time publicly in memory of Sharon McCormack, and in sincere empathy with all who have lost those we hold close.  Strong personal beliefs and experiences have shown me that life continues beyond death as we know it, and our loved ones are not truly lost to us.  My brother Dennis (died 1-24-18 age 79), sister Nora (died 12-13-16 age 82) and many others are but a thought and a memory away, and it is my belief I will see them again.
May you each find peace and comfort in remembering the lives of your own loved ones, and feel their love for you eternally.

Buddha in Snow, in memory of Loved Ones.

Buddha in Snow, in memory of Loved Ones.

Buddha-in-Snow-9821Buddha-in-Snow-9815Buddha-in-Snow-9808Buddha-in-Snow-9813

 

Clicking on these photos should open a new tab where you can see the higher quality image in my SmugMug photo galleries.

Namaste’

(The divine within me sees and honors the divine within you)

More than Meets the Eye: the tip of the Autism Iceburg.

The study of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has brought to light there are many things I can relate to, and some that do not strike my internal bell. Although I do not have a diagnosis of ASD, I am also definitely Neurodivergent (ND) rather than Neurotypical (NT). [see end of post for definitions of these two words]. For years it has been obvious that I just don’t process things the same way as most people. I do have an Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) diagnosis and have been learning that the two (ASD & ADD or ADHD) are closely interrelated, possibly with the same roots. Someone described it as what appears to be two icebergs above the water, but they’re joined under the water into one. Perhaps then it’s not surprising I have been very intrigued by studying autism and finding the similarities and differences in myself.

One thing I’ve learned is that there is a worldwide autistic community that often writes eloquently as they describe autistic life from the inside. For example, on Twitter look up the hashtags

#ActuallyAutistic , #AskingAutistics , and #autistic .

These are just a few of the hashtags that can help you learn more. Many of these people are highly intelligent, incredibly brilliant, and capable. Some of them were considered low functioning and nonverbal when younger, but eventually grew out of that and became able to function in the world around them. Several diagnosed autistic people have become advocates and activists for better understanding of ASD. That functioning does take a lot of effort however. These people are giving us a new insight on autism that should be an inspiration for parents of autistic children as well as for newly diagnosed adults.

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On WordPress you can find Yinin’s Thoughts:

Aspergreatness- Liberty of Thinking:

 Neurodivergent Rebel

And “Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism” which actually has several contributing authors.

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Reading some of the blogs above, I was fascinated by a discussion on autistic actors in TV series and movies. Specifically mentioned by Yinin was “Gray’s Anatomy”.

I really wish they would start using actually autistic people in TV series and in movies. Or at least seriously consult with the artistic community. For example, in Gray’s Anatomy; Dr. Dixon, an autistic surgeon, makes an appearance in season 5. As i read in a blogpost by “Yinin’s Thoughts” :

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“So I was already starting lose the rose-coloured nostalgia glasses when Dr Dixon showed up. She’s every bad autistic stereotype rolled into one, and characters like this are a huge part of why it took so long for me to even self-diagnose, let alone consider an official diagnosis.” ~Yinin 🙏

https://yininsthoughts.wordpress.com/2017/10/20/greys-anatomy-autistic-headcanon/

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Yinin’s blogpost led me to

Lynne Soraya on Psychology Today:

1. “People with Asperger’s are individuals.   The profile of skills and deficits vary with each person’s personality and makeup. Some may effect the person only slightly, others very strongly – and the same diagnostic criteria may manifest is a completely different way in two different individuals.

2. “Adults are different than kids.  While Asperger’s is classed as a pervasive development disorder, meaning it doesn’t go away, that doesn’t mean it remains exactly the same throughout the lifespan.  We learn and adapt. An adult, the age of Dr. Dixon, in this type of occupation, would have had to develop coping mechanisms to deal with her symptoms.   She would have learned, at least to some degree, to put a veneer of “normalcy” over her more off-putting traits in order to get along in the world.

3. “Gender makes a big difference in how Asperger’s manifests.   As Newsweek magazine notes, “…some specialists predict that as we diagnose more girls, our profile of the disorder as a whole will change. Anecdotally, they report that girls with Asperger’s seem to have less motor impairment, a broader range of obsessive interests, and a stronger desire to connect with others, despite their social impairment.”  Further, girls with Asperger’s “…are more adept at copying the behaviors, mannerisms and dress codes of those around them, than Aspie boys tend to be.” Dr. Dixon does not reflect any of this.

4. “People with Asperger’s are as capable to have a brilliant career as anyone else.   The Asperger’s “islets of talent” can actually give certain gifts that may make that person better at the job than a person without Asperger’s (think engineers, scientists, computer programmers, musicians, artists).   Wouldn’t doctors know this?  Isn’t this why they’d be courting her in the first place?

~Lynne Soraya

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One thing that has confused me in diagnosing, is the theory that most people who are autistic, on the spectrum somewhere, are very resistant to (or uncomfortable with) touch and contact. However Dr. Dixon from Gray’s Anatomy above wants her coworkers to hug her to calm her down. And yet it was a hug from the parents of her patient that freaked her out. Somehow this doesn’t match up in my mind. I myself am a hugger extraordinaire. In fact I’ve had to teach myself that it’s not always appropriate to just hug people; that some people are not comfortable with that especially in a spontaneous way. It is just something I grew up with, I would hug and kiss everyone in the house before going to bed at night.

Many people have the idea that autistic people do not feel emotions or understand them. From everything I understand this is absolutely not true in most cases. Many ND people are actually hyper empathic, and are so overwhelmed by the emotions they don’t know how to sort them all out; which is why they might appear to freeze up on the outside.

I myself am hyper empathic, but I suspect sometimes I’m picking up things so far below the surface that the person is not even aware of that emotion or thinks they’re hiding it. With someone very close to me, and their words and attitude are opposite from the emotion I’m sensing, it creates within me a conflict that might lead to fight, flight, or freeze. The situation and their words are not making sense to me at that point.

It usually ends up with me melting down into cathartic sort of ball on the floor, in convulsions.

This cathartic reaction, ( is that even the right word?) This convulsive fetal position reaction, renders me inable to speak for a while. When someone speaks to me, maybe trying to get me to come out of it, I hear it but it doesn’t register. At this point I would usually be sobbing in an uncontrollable panic.

This generally takes a day or two to recover from, in terms of energy. It could be anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour before I can speak coherently. Since I started taking an antidepressant about three years ago, I’ve only had a handful of these episodes. I’m able to take a hard look at myself, my reactions and emotions, without falling into the abyss. On the other hand, I often feel somewhat numb at times when I’m used to being extremely emotionally sensitive. I seldom even cry anymore when uncontrollable sobbing used to be a common reaction. It was all worst during menopause, so much worse. That is when I started having a long slow break down. At the same time I was living with my sister and being a caregiver for her as well as trying to run a photography business. Needless to say my sister was the most important at that point, and so I gave up my business and went to a doctor for the first time about my mental emotional problems. Since then I have been blessed to regularly see a counselor, actually a series of counselors. One thing that has come out of all of this is the thought that these life skills for coping should be taught in elementary school as a standard, for all children whether Neurodivergent (ND)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurodiversity

Or Neurotypical (NT)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurotypical

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All of this long post barely scratches the tip of the iceberg (whether the ASD iceberg or the ADHD tip). If you have family, friends, or acquaintances that are autistic (including Asperger’s syndrome), I encourage you to check out some of these links and learn more to help yourself better understand. If you wonder if maybe you are autistic, reading some of these blog posts and asking questions on Twitter are excellent ways to learn more.

Thank you to those who take time to actually read, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this. If I am inaccurate in something I said, feel free to let me know.

~Darlisa

Contemplations in Rain

Contemplations… rain seems to slide the thoughts into pathways made rusty by such a long dry hot spell.  Perhaps it is the sudden release of breathe after tracking so many fires this year.  Or perhaps the moisture lubricates the mind, allowing it to slip and slide here and there.  Out the window from where I sit and type, the rain has stopped again, the plums are huge and purple on the trees near the deck, and brighter light seems to bring a glow to the wet leaves and grass.
Mount Adams still hides her face behind the soft gray veil,  refusing to show her new covering of fresh snow.  I can only assume the peak has this new white gown, based on the reports from Mount Rainer’s Paradise webcams found here.

for example, at this time I see this grouping around the Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise.

Also there were reports last night from Mount Hood’s Timberline of 8-9 inches of new snow, and a very happy St. Bernard that lives at the Lodge.

You can see webcams via Timberline here.

Meanwhile, the Snotel site at Surprise Lakes up in Gifford Pinchot National Forest claims no precipitation lately, which makes me wonder if it is actually working!  Or maybe I am reading it incorrectly.  This particular report on the Snotel site shows nearly a full years daily records, beginning 10-1-16.  interesting!

Well, that was an interesting side track in my flowing rain thoughts!  This has been the strangest of years.  I am wondering if we will slide quickly through Autumn and into a harsh winter.  Eternally hoping for the long beautiful Fall weather I love so much, but not so sure i will get it this year.  Might have to content myself with fall colors from previous years such at this:

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And now, as I finish up, the RAIN has continued.  I learned some new words this week:
      Petrichor:  pet·ri·chor, ˈpeˌtrīkôr/  (noun)  is the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil. The word is constructed from Greek πέτρα petra, meaning “stone”, and ἰχώρ īchōr, the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.

also:  a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.
“other than the petrichor emanating from the rapidly drying grass, there was not a trace of evidence that it had rained at all”

Pluviophile. a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days.

Psithurism

(n.) (obsolete)   The sound of wind in the trees and rustling of leaves.

 

Wishing you all a lovely Autumn, and hopefully no one goes straight from Heat Stroke to Hypothermia!

 

Darlisa (Starlisa)

Alaska, Brilliant and Serene

Alaska, land of wildness and hardy people. Volcano country with innumerable small quakes so common they are seldom noticed. Skies so big you can get lost in them, with auroras that make you fall over backwards trying to take it all in. 

Deep Creek Beach aurora


Aurora seen from beside the trailer i am staying in for a few weeks


Visiting here on the southern Kenai Peninsula has expanded all the spaces of my soul, and fed my hungry heart.  Air so fresh and crisp my lungs ask for more, and grand vistas that my eyes drink in thirstily. 

Tern Lake Reflections Panorama

Sunset behind Mount Illiamna across Cook Inlet from Happy Valley

Twilight and Mount Douglas, with a pinch of Aurora. Ninilchik, Alaska


Even the wildlife here are grand, and although i have not yet seen bear, i have gotten photos of moose and caribou. Hmmm, i will save those for another post. 

Kasilof Special use area, Sunset Gold on Cook Inlet

Large jellyfish on the beach near Kasilof river mouth.

September frost on autumn leaves

Sunset over Mount Douglas and Cook Inlet


I hope you enjoyed the show!  There will be more in a few days. 

Thanks to all who stop and visit, and i will be making prints available of many of these images!

With love

Darlisa

LIfe is an everchanging Process

No matter what life throws our way

we can overcome

endure

and even move forward.  

At times the moments can be full of shadows

and hurt, 

but go around that next corner

and the LIght returns

to brighten your 

Day. 

What we do with that light

is up to each of us.

We can hide it in our proverbial closets

and try to keep it all for ourselves…. 

but it slips away. 

We can shine the light out from 

our hearts

for others to find their way, 

and it returns 

brighter.

Our choice.  Move

Forward into that LIght!  Let it fill the hearts of others

so that they may shine for you 

in dark times.

Together, spirits shining, move 

Forward into that Light, 

Together.

Give Thanks.

     ~darlisa black August 16, 2014

Road to Mount Rainer

Road to Mount Rainer

Life on the Lewis River, Memories of Youth

Lower Falls on the Lewis River

Lower Falls on the Lewis River

 

Lower Falls on the Lewis River is a place full of happy childhood memories.  Where as most people who go there are most familiar with this viewpoint and the nearby campground, I remember a time this campground was brand new and small, and very few people came this way.  90 road did not go all the way through back then, and upriver aways there was another campground that is now inaccessible by car. The old Sheep Bridge Camp was our family hangout.  Mom was fond of saying that I camped there even BEFORE I was born.  To get to this falls we would have to climb and wade downriver on the other side, and it could only really be done safely in lower water times.   As an adolescent I was already wading across this river in many places, with a walking stick bracing me against the rugged current, and water up to my chest.  I proudly followed my Daddy everywhere, even places Mom did not go herself.  Of course my Mom was 45 when I was born, and now that I am dealing with arthritis myself I understand better why she did not rush into the icy water as quickly as I did!  Dad had it made… he just wore his chest waders.

Happy days, peaceful nights… sometimes we would camp for a couple of weeks at a time up in this paradise.  More often we hiked upriver to the Middle Falls, or across the old Sheep Bridge (before the ends were pulled off for supposed safety considerations), up the trail to the Lewis River trail to the Upper Falls. When the 90 road started getting built on through to connect the Lower Falls with the 23 road to make a big loop, it tore up this gorgeous deep forest trail, so we walked up the road part way and then down the hill through the trees to Lower Falls.  One time several of us found our way through the woods above the Upper Falls and discovered yet another waterfall which we simply dubbed the “Upper Upper Falls”.  We used a rope to climb down to the river to fish.  Dad and I wandered downriver to stand in the middle of the river leaning on the huge rock that has been at the top of Upper Falls for many years, where we could look over this lovely waterfall from the top, for the first time.  Things sure looked different from that point of view.

As the years went on, and my brothers and sisters had child after child, the camps grew bigger and bigger, until there would be wonderful times when the campground was full of the Black and Kyte families, and kids with bikes made trails through the woods and campground.  I miss those days so much… when our home was on the Lewis.

this was our wading pool and swimming hole when the water was higher.  We got water here for the campsite.  The green is heavily influenced by a smooth green shale on the river bottom.

this was our wading pool and swimming hole when the water was higher. We got water here for the campsite. The green is heavily influenced by a smooth green shale on the river bottom.

My brother Boyce fishing near the camp

My brother Boyce fishing near the camp

I love the emerald waters.

I love the emerald waters.

Lower Falls near the top

Lower Falls near the top

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on a hike in return visit, I and my dog Rio sat on this rock in the middle of the river and played my flute.

on a hike in return visit, I and my dog Rio sat on this rock in the middle of the river and played my flute.

Lower Falls on the Lewis River  at Dusk, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington state

Lower Falls on the Lewis River at Dusk, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington state

Unfocused Mind Diaries part 1

2014… Year of Changes
June, near the end of the month, on a Sunday afternoon. My mind has been so unfocused and scattered lately, and getting worse the last couple of months. Anxiety attacks about what should be small things, but shake and bake my body and brain. These are followed by time staring blankly into space… important things forgotten like crumbled dry autumn leaves falling from the trees into the silence of deep winter. Names that I know well slip away like the last lick of a soft ice cream cone… gone.
Sitting in my truck in the sun in the church parking lot, with all the congregation gone home with their families already, listening to the song of the capricious winds dancing among the leaves of the grown up Weeping White Birch and big old Maple trees. Mother helped plant so many trees and shrubs here so long ago when we built stage one of this LDS church building in Pucker Huddle. She would be thrilled to see how well they grew; I can picture that in my mind.
Ah, yes, my mind… THAT is where I started, and what I wanted to talk more about on this sunny day full of puffy white clouds and wind-swept trees. My mind, and how it does not like to focus on things of importance in the ways of this modern world, but would rather drift off dancing with the leaves in the wind or sink deep into the earth to curl up and wait to be born again; to grow questioning tendrils reaching out like the roots of a tree to find the pockets of vibrant life force that nourish mind body and spirit.
Waiting; Nothingness, and yet Everything-ness. Calm, listening and observing; the curl of the hawks wing fingers as he changes directions in the wind; the sudden squawk of a Crow searching the ground under the tree for a bit of supper.
Supper…. That is right; I was invited to two different meals today with family and then friends! I had best be on my way.
>>>to be continued<<<