The journey

The last 16 months has been a lot for me to work through and understand. In the process I have hurt people, but I’ve also been hurt. However, there comes a time when we have to look passed our hurts and rise above all of the things that have tried to tear us down. Walking away from an unhealthy relationship can be a culture shock for just about anyone. When you’ve been out of the game for as long as I have been, dating can be quite shocking as well. Working through getting to know one another can be a tedious process. Unfortunately, learning how to function in a healthy relationship can take time.

Based on my own personal experience, it is going to take a lot longer than 16 months for me to figure myself out. Some days are much worse than others, but for the most part, at least lately, I’ve tried to enter each day with a better attitude. I want to be better. I want to find myself. I want to be healthy. Wanting and doing can be difficult.

Cutting certain people out of your life is almost a must. Loyalty means a lot to me, and when I feel like someone has betrayed me it is really difficult for me to find trust in them again. I’m not mean, but my ability to fully believe or have faith in anything that comes out of their mouths is challenging. Although I don’t believe this is something I should or even need to let go of, I do believe that I must make strides to forgive and move forward. I think that’s the hardest thing: forgiveness. I have found that the hardest person to forgive is myself.

I pity the folks who have watched me torment myself for the last year and a half. It has had to be an excruciating process. I have hated myself for so long, I don’t know how to do anything but that. Nonetheless, I am learning that I am can be strong. I am learning that I am worthy of love and peace. I am intelligent and hard working. I have raised a great son, and I have so much to be thankful for. I think in trying to become a better, more centered person focusing on my blessings is the best way to go. It takes the emphasis off of feeling sorry for myself and puts the focus on all of the wonderful things in my life. It assists in an attitude change.

It is perfectly okay to take the time to get to know yourself again. That is exactly what I intend to do!

Spirit Animals: Moutain Lion (Puma)

Mountain lions go by several names.  Some folks call them pumas others call them a cougar.  No matter what you call them, if one comes sneaking into your life, they can prove to be a difficult spirit animal to deal with.  Check out the reference section if you want to know where the research comes from.

The mountain lion is difficult because you are usually placed into situations where you can become a target.  The insecurities of others often causes you to be an easy target.  So, how does this relate to the mountain lion?  This animal is a natural leader, and you probably possess those qualities.  If you know anything about leadership, you can ruffle feathers and your decisions aren’t always easily accepted by others.  Others try to knock you out of your position if you’re a leader.  In other words people constantly try to knock you off of your mountain.

The mountain lion brings lessons of leadership.  These lessons can be painful.  The goal for you would be to learn to lead without caring whether anyone follows you.  If you watch the mountain lion in the wild, you can see how perfectly agile these animals can be.  They are balanced, have clear intentions, are physically strong, and even though they are big, they are graceful.  This ability in your spirit animal is put to use as they teach you how to have a balanced body, mind, and spirit.  Waste nothing!  Survival is the goal.

Here is something else you won’t want to hear.  If this animal pounces into your life, it means it’s time to take charge, even when you don’t want to.  Take charge of your life.  Take charger of your situation.  Opinions be damned!  The mountain lion also tells you to make your intentions crystal clear.  When you meditate, put your intentions out to the universe, but be careful about ill-intentions because it’s all about balance.

Another fact…  The mountain lion spirit animal will not use her power to gain control of you.  She is powerful because she can move through the world as an unseen force using and taking only what she has to have.  She is silent.  She teaches you that your soul doesn’t grow through dominance, but rather through silence.  This is different from being lonely.

As you travel through this lifetime, your spirit guides, spirit animals, and ancestors try to teach you values and lessons.  These lessons are yours alone.  You share these only with your higher power (deity, gods, goddesses).  The mountain lion reminds us of that.  Just because she is beautiful and powerful doesn’t mean she throws her weight around.  Her lessons are learned in silence.  She marks territory instead of engaging in conflicts.  She will guide you in your personal evolution.

References

Beverly TwoFeathers.  (2012, August 20).  Totem of mountain lion [Blog post].  Retrieved from http://native-american-totems.com/animal-totem-medicines/mountain-lion/

Couch, S.  (2014, January 27).  Spirit animals:  Her magesty, the cougar [Blog post.  Wild Gratitude.  Retrieved https://www.wildgratitude.com/meaning-of-cougar-spirit-animal/

Cougar symbolism.  (2017).  Spirit Animal Totem.  Retrieved from https://www.spirit-animals.com/cougar/

Scoopnest.  (n.d.).  Retrieved from https://www.scoopnest.com/fr/user/monde_biodi/

Spirit animals: Eagle

Aren’t eagles beautiful?  As the symbol of my country, I wondered what the animal means to those of us who have an attachment.  The eagle is another one of my son’s spirit animals.  So, as we delve into this study, be sure to note the reference section for proper crediting.

When the eagle arrives in your life it is time to find courage and to really reach for the stars.  Don’t accept the words, “It can’t be done.”  Defy them.  this symbolic totem tells you to believe in yourself, and try to see things from a brand new perspective.  However, the eagle also tells us to be patient with what is happening in our lives right now.  It can reassure us that although the current situation is hard, what is ahead will allow us to soar to new heights with untold possibilities.

Various cultures drew conclusions about the eagle as a spirit animal.  The Native Americans viewed the eagle as strength, power, leadership, and vision.  The eagle was the symbol of many ancient cultures ranging from Egypt to Rome and now to the U.S.  In Aztec culture, the chief was told to settle in an area where an eagle sat on a cactus eating a snake (Phillips).  Zeus changed into an eagle at times.  The Pueblos saw the eagle to be associated with the sun (Phillips).

The eagle is associated with the element of air.  The qualities the eagle spirit offers is meant to help you find balance on all levels of existence.  Additionally, it’s there to promote inner-growth.  You will also find that with the eagle in your life, you can become profoundly aware of spirituality.  However, because these animals live near water in the wild, it is thought that they can also bring the cleansing power of the water element.

Other qualities associated with this animal are provided by Spirit Animal Totem (2014).  They are as follows

  • action
  • bigger picture
  • creation
  • creativity
  • dignity
  • grace
  • hard work
  • healing
  • intuition
  • knowledge
  • magic
  • respect
  • responsibility
  • strength
  • truth

The other fascinating fact about eagles is they cleanse the environment.  They are a bird of prey and help restore balance to the natural world.  They find weak and sick animals and kill them.  This helps prevent the spread of disease in the wild.  Therefore, it is understandable as to why many cultures see the eagle as a healer.  Thus, if an eagle enters your life, the gift of healing may be opening to you or the eagle may be there to provide self-healing.

Eagles mate for life.  This totem can offer lessons about relationships.  Eagles are loyal, and they honor commitment.  They teach us to rise above the petty problems.  They also teach us to make careful choices.  The reinforce that we shouldn’t run away from problems inside our relationships, but we should hit them head on and find viable solutions, even if that means we need to separate from the person we are with.  You must balance health and happiness.

My guess regarding the arrival of the eagle in my son’s life has everything to do with his situation over the summer.  This animal arrived at the same time his lion arrived.  They worked in concert to provide strength and courage as well as to tap into those intuitive sense my son already possessed.  I also believe that my son has the capacity to heal.  I think if he were ever attuned to Reiki, that gift would open wide.  His core gift is just life mine, but from that core comes branch gifts.  One of his is channeling.  I believe the other might be healing.

I hope you are enjoying the posts so far.  It’s been a week since we began this series together.  I hope you are learning something.  Please feel free to comment or ask questions.

References

Eagle symbolism.  (2014).  Spirit Animal Totem.  Retrieved from https://www.spirit-

animals.com/eagle/

Harris, E.  (2017).  Eagle spirit animal.  Retrieved from http://www.spiritanimal.info/eagle-

spirit-animal/

Phillips, T.  (n.d.).  Fly like an eagle.  Pure Spirit.  Retrieved from http://www.pure-

spirit.com/more-animal-symbolism/629-eagle-symbolism

Month of Thanks: Day 9

I am thankful for my father-in-law.  Although he passed away in July, I still feel his presence.  If it weren’t for Jim, my husband wouldn’t be the person he is.  It’s true that we are not molded 100% by our parents, but they undoubtedly have a major influence on every aspect of our psychology and biology.

Jim was a likeable, funny person.  His death has been a tragedy that my household has had to live with.  Last year was his first Thanksgiving in our home.  It meant so much to me to have him with us.  It’s a shame that was his last Thanksgiving with us.  Still, I cherish every minute I had with him.  Why would my life be life without Jim?  Without him I wouldn’t have my husband.  That says it all.

Month of Thanks: Day 6

I am thankful for bad luck.  I know, I know.  That sounds insane right?  Think about it though.  Look at some of the roads life leads you down.  Some are dark; so dark you can’t see your hand in front of your face.  However, even when the path seems the darkest there comes a point when you have to shade your eyes from the glaring sunlight.  Every single situation that brings heartbreak and heartache also brings growth.  Without that growth, where would we be?  Where would we end up?

All of the bad decisions have brought me right where I am.  All of the good decisions that turned bad, and situations that were meant to destroy me, have brought me right here.  Everything brings about change.  The changes may hurt terribly, but it’s how we decide to cope with the changes that makes the difference.  We can choose to live in the darkness, eaten alive by depression and self-pity, or we can allow the growth to take place.  We can fight against the dying of the light.

I know people have gone through much worse than me.  I am blessed in so many ways.  In saying that, nonetheless, what is hell for me may be a cakewalk to you and visa versa.  In my moments, months, and years of hell I have managed to emerge somewhat whole.  There are pieces missing, some of which I will never retrieve, but I’m here.  I’m breathing.  I’m still standing.  At the time we can’t see the lesson, but when the fog clears, with the right mindset, we can see everything because that big beautiful sun is shining on all of the aspects of life we were meant to achieve and leave behind.

Stop with the Hate! It’s Econ 101!

I wanted to address something that was brought up last night on LinkedIn. I was basically placed on the chopping block because the company I founded (Ozwind) actually charges fees to providing publishing services. Can you imagine? A company that asks for payment in return for services? And entry fees? For a contest? How unreasonable! Right?

WRONG!

This sort of situation is exactly why I left LinkedIn before. The nastiness and disrespect hasn’t changed much it seems. My stay here may be temporary yet again, not that anyone would notice it if I left. I don’t mind discussions and exchanges, but there is no sense in being involved in perpetuating harsh comments and arguments. I won’t. It goes against who I am and what I believe in.

I run my life with a positive outlook (or at least I try). I also use that same concept as a foundation for my business. STRENGTH-BASED approaches to problems, situations, and personnel go much farther than negativity. The old saying, “You attract bees with honey, not vinegar” still holds water.

econ 101Perhaps this will serve as an explanation for why Ozwind asks for fees. AND it may also give you an idea as to why we are charging entry fees for a contest we are running currently:

The fact is that everything in this world COSTS us something, whether it is time or money. When I get a hair cut, I have to pay for it. When I go to Wal-Mart, I have to pay for goods. When I want to be involved in a virtual book tour, I have to pay an entry fee. When I want to set up a booth at an event, I have to pay a set up charge.

Ozwind DOES charge fees because we are PROVIDING A SERVICE. Our authors get 60% of their net royalties. That is much more than a traditional publisher, whether they are large or a small independent press. I have personal experience in that area, so I know I’m speaking the truth.

We are a small business just beginning our journey. To ask for entry fees for a contest IS NOT unreasonable. The PRIZE is that the chosen works are put together with other stories and the winners WILL BE PUBLISHED. I would have jumped at a chance like that when I started out in my writing career. It would have been well worth the $5.00 entry fee.

I know there are “free” services out there, such as GoodReads, but formatting, editing, cover design are NOT free, unless you can take care of all of that yourself. So, as I said, in some form, there is a cost.

From researching our business model, I learned that large traditional publishers usually ask authors to sign over their rights, so essentially you lose the control that you have over your work. Vanity presses simply ask you for the money and then publish the work, whether it is ready for the market or not (that I know from my own experiences).

HYBRID PUBLISHERS, which is what we are, have guidelines that are put in place to ensure quality. The contest we are having right now is aside from all of this. It is to give first time authors a chance to add something to their history. It makes them more marketable. Essentially, we are helping one another by gaining momentum toward the same goal: being published and finding a fan base.

Summary:

First of all, if you can’t be nice, don’t say anything at all. That’s how I was raised. So, if you disagree with our business model or anything I’ve said here, that’s okay. Not everyone is going to agree on everything. Nevertheless, if you’re going to be rude, keep your thoughts to yourself. We don’t mind being challenged, but there is no point in being hateful about it.

Secondly, if you have questions, we welcome those. We don’t mind explaining who we are and why we do what we do. It gives us the opportunity to help.

Thirdly, if you do leave a nasty comment, then we will rise to the challenge gracefully. I don’t believe in responding to hate with hate. That doesn’t solve anything. What I do embrace is professionalism. With that said, I will not tolerate hate filled language or hate filled criticism. So if life on LinkedIn is cut short again, I won’t go back. And if Ozwind “lost” you “at the fees,” then we wish you all of the best in seeking free publishing services, because trust me, you will not find them.

As Indies, and yes, Ozwind is an INDEPENDENT HYBRID PUBLISHER, we need to be helping one another. That is why I hosted three blog tours, devoted myself to countless other activities, and give away more than I need to. I believe we are all trying to reach the same goal and if we don’t give each stepladders to get there, what does that make us? Well, what it makes us is rather ugly, so I won’t get into that. The point is that we need to support one another in this market because it’s overwhelming. The market is flooded and to stand out is a hurdle in itself. So, I hope you read this post with an open mind and heart and leave the negativity in the dark.

Tracee Ford’s Stages of Chaos: Resolve

 

Hello folks. Thursday night the sixth stage of Chaos was posted on my youtube channel. We’re almost done with the series. I truly hope that anyone who has watched it has been helped by it. Working through those stages as I’ve produced the show has been a challenge for me. But, how can you present a point of view if you haven’t lived through it yourself?

Peace to you and have a great rest of your day!