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Those Who Do Not Dance

A crippled child Said, "How shall I dance?" Let your heart dance We said.

Then the invalid said: "How shall I sing?" Let your heart sing We said

Then spoke the poor dead thistle, "But I, how shall I dance?" Let your heart fly to the wind We said.

Then God spoke from above "How shall I descend from the blue? "Come dance for us here in the light We said.

All the valley is dancing Together under the sun, And the heart of him who joins us not Is turned to dust, to dust.

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Singing Back the Soul

 

There are many ways to sing back your souls.

1.  Slink into an old, empty silo.  Bang on the walls with both hands and both feet, scaring off the birds.  Sing the first thing that comes to your heart.  Harmonize with yourself.  Be awed.

2.  Walk to a lake at midnight on a full moon.  Bring a drum or find 2 sticks.  Open your mouth, breathe, and sing.  Listen to the echo.  Be brave.

3.  Venture into a tunnel before dusk.  Howl.  Spin.  Sing.  Write a song for the creek.  Be humbled.

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Learning to Heal Toxic Thoughts

About a month ago now I moved almost 1000 miles with my 2 kids and our dog, bringing with us to Ohio only what we could fit in our Toyota Matrix wagon.  Almost all of our furniture and goods we donated to another single mom who had just moved out of the local women's shelter and into an apartment of her own.  As I helped her load her van with most of our collected household items, I knew that each little piece of possessions would be cherished and utilized, and each dollar she saved by receiving these things was going to go to feed and clothe her family.  I saw the survival in her eyes, and I was glad to be a part of hers, though I may not have been able to convey that I truly understood. I quit a well-paying job, left a community of beloved friends, even passed up a music opportunity I'd been waiting on for almost a dozen years, all because I knew that at this difficult time in life it would be better to be near family.  Better for me and my kids.

All of this change has left me reeling.  Stripped of possessions and things and a place to call my own, I am left to contemplate the directions my life is taking, the choices I am making.  Fear rears its head and inside my mind a litany of toxic thoughts takes up residence.  They tell me I am no good, ugly, fat, poor, a failure, a bad mom,washed up, the black sheep . . . on and on.

Add to that the insult of a terrible back injury and my monkey mind went to town creating a toxic web of traps.

After about a week of that I decided it was time to take action and turn them around.  Luckily I stumbled upon an author who addresses this common issue with compassion and good solid advice.  I have been reading "How to Heal Toxic Thoughts" by Sandra Ingerman by way of my dream teacher, Robert Moss.  Thankfully with a little vigilance and repetition, the negative thoughts are getting easier to tame.

Another powerful method I used, thanks to Robert's teachings, was simply asking my dreams to assist me.  Basically it means that before sleeping I ask for the answer to a particular problem to come by way of my dreams.  Sometimes, more often than not, it requires multiple nights of requesting before any light is shed, but this issue came clear in a couple of nights, and sometimes the problem is solved by the dreaming, leaving me free of the issue altogether in the morning and after.

How do your dreams help you?  Has there been a significant healing dream in your life?

P.S. I will tell you about that dream in my next post . . . in the meantime I am enjoying the beautiful retreat pictured above, a literal paradise in Ohio, Blue Heron Farm.

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Dear Love Letters

Dear Lovely Self: You have been so downtrodden, so burdened, so stuck and so lost for so long.

You secretly wish for delight and love and romance and poetry and goosebumps again.

I am here to tell you right now that these things are your birthright.  You are in the process of discovering how to manifest this effortless delight into your daily life.  How to acknowledge the limitless abundance that you are living in the midst of every moment.  You will look into the mirror from this moment forward and see the radiant beauty of your soul beaming back at you.  You will transform your vision of yourself from the criticized to the praised.  From this moment forward you will only sense the goddesses flowing through you.

Abra cadabra (as I say it, so is it created)

Gaia

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The Impossible Dream

One day in March I had an impossible vision. In my mind's eye, out of the ether I saw myself packed into my silver Toyota wagon, my two beautiful kids in the backseat, with only what we could fit in the car. We were driving to an unknown destination. Permanently moving. Away from Wisconsin.

I laughed at the thought then because it was clearly not going to happen. Not even in the realm of remote possibility. Their father and I were recently divorced and our agreement was to share the placement of the kids 50/50. Which meant I would be living in Wisconsin for at least another 14 years because I knew there was no way in hell he was going to move. And on top of that, I was wearing the engagement ring that was given to me by a cowboy twice my age. It was all set.

But the feeling I had in that vision was hard to shake. It was as if I was floating in an alternate reality while time stopped. I smiled in my heart as the lightness of the departure spread across the screen of my mind. It was liberating. Dreamy. Downright SCANDALOUS in its audacious freedom.  But then the record scratched.  The image was gone as quickly as it came and I succumbed to reality, scoffing at my improbable, silly daydream.

Now it is June 29. 3 days ago I drove away from Wisconsin with my two beautiful kids and our chocolate lab, Simone, headed for the exciting adventure of a new life in Ohio near family. We sold and gave away everything except for the necessities in clothing, toiletries, and my children's most beloved toys, packed up the wagon and left. Singing the whole way.

The best part about letting go is that the more you let go of, the closer you get to flying.

To be continued . . .

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Leap and the net will appear?

This is me starting where I should.  Leaping.  Hoping that something will catch my fall and trusting the process regardless.  The stars are in my favor these days, or so they say, so I am trusting the powers that be to guide me through the unknown. I resigned from my soul-sucking job 2 days ago and I have exactly 5 days left.  Then it's summer.  I signed up for The Hustle Project with money I won't have much longer but I am going to give this blog thing I have been wishing for for over 8 years a try.  My resistance has kept me in a holding pattern for long enough, and I am going to go for it this summer.

I have to.

When you live in pain you have a lot of time to dream about what you wish you were doing.  Listen up.

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Connecting the World One Bead at a Time

I recently contributed a bead to the community mala project --

108 Beads. 1 Mala. Connecting the world.

We are creating a set of community mala beads. One bead from each person - people of all walks of life and from all around the world.

Here is a touching entry from Heidi Howes on why she contributed a skull bead.

If you would like to contribute a bead and your story please contact us at info@lovetinydevotions.com 

Namaste xx

The reason I have chosen the skull bead is because I developed a particular fascination with the skull's meaning and spent a year meditating on this symbol after a near-death experience in childbirth.

Despite pop culture's use of the skull, I have come to regard it as a gateway to enlightenment.  I wore a wooden skull mala on my wrist during the year I meditated on this symbol and one morning as I played with my toddler on the wood floor, sun streaming in through the window, I glanced down at the mala and chills ran through my body.  I teared up thinking of my daughter and this precious moment, the impermanent yet perfect moment.

The meditation on impermanence reminds us to be wholly in the moment, to notice the sunshine and the ever changing beauty of this world.  Also, and sometimes more importantly, this symbol reminds us in times of darkness to be aware that "this too shall pass."  In pain and suffering, we need to remember that it is not permanent and that relief will come again.  We can breathe through it and know that it will soon be over.

After the year was finished, I decided to tattoo the mala on my wrist as a constant reminder.  I have to chuckle every time I see a black t-shirt with a skull and crossbones on it, because it inevitably brings me right back to the moment, grateful and alive.

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We are spring's daughters

You are now three and my struggle is rushing , remembering to hold on to your tiny words,

pulsing between my daydreams of pressing thoughts

and the image of your silly faces

in the rearview mirror.  You make me laugh,

sing along sweetly to the radio, tell me a story

about how Winnie the Pooh dies and then goes to jail.

I am supposed to drive, steer, pay attention to the road

stay between the yellow lines,

and make enough money to fill this damn tank--

not to mention all those dishes in the sink at home.

I try to fit it all into this drive to school, so afraid to lose or fail,

and when we arrive, when you flit from the car

and float, fairy-like, to the curb

you are not looking forward,

only into this moment, the blossomed petals on the concrete.

Your eyes sparkle up towards mine and quick as a wink you

wave your hand into the pile of  ivory petals, fling them into the air

so they drift in the breeze and swirl back to the ground.

My heart rips open like a seed

who knows spring is here, right now,

and we are her daughters.

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Doing good is fun: Support Flying Horse Farms

This weekend I will be playing at a special Columbus event put on by the downtown Rotary club.  I am really happy to be a part of Music in the Round and to be supporting this fundraiser.  Music In the Round is an annual event to raise money for Flying Horse Farm. It’s a great event: an unplugged-style musicians’ round, where three very talented artists take turns writing songs and sharing stories behind them.

FLYING HORSE FARMS helps extremely sick kids have the experience of a lifetime. Watch the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3QgDFGh9gc

TICKETS ARE ONLY $25, and all proceeds go directly to FHF. It’s at the Columbus Maennerchor and I hear they have cheap drinks :)

IF YOU CAN’T GO, consider buying tickets for a friend or client. IF YOU ARE ALREADY GOING, invite more people!

TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE AT WWW.MUSICINTHEROUND.COM

Have a great week and I hope to see you Saturday!

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The Journey

The Journey One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice-- though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. "Mend my life!" each voice cried. But you didn't stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full of fallen branches and stones. But little by little, as you left their voices behind, the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do-- determined to save the only life you could save.

~Mary Oliver

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ARE YOU READY FOR PARENTING TO BE EASIER, MORE FUN AND LESS STRESSFUL?

Heck yeah!   Is that possible?  I am super pleased to be partnering with the awesome mamas over at the  My Mommy Manual community.  As a practicing yogi of over ten years myself, I am really excited to be a part of this project and have contributed exclusive previews of three songs from my soon-to-be released album, MotherSongs.  Please take a look at what they have put together, it is fabulous -- I have already gotten to do many of the lessons myself as a tester, and I am amazed at the content! 

For details on how to pre-order my new album, MotherSongs, scheduled for a May 2010 release, please go HERE .  Here's the awesome cover art, done by my soul sistah, Lisa Kattenbraker. (thanks, Lisa!)

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Dear suffering Mamas whose burden feels too big to bear, so UNFAIR (!):

 

I want to give you hope

I want to speak to you from my deepest heart buried beneath the numbness, the horror, the despair of this wretched monster we call PPD.  I want you to know that you are not, and never will be, alone.  (I know it feels like you are because we are all silenced out here, drowning, but we are here and we need you, your voice, too.) 

You think you are being overtaken by this beast, your greatest foe, but in reality she is yours to conquer, yours to embrace, yours to overcome, and ultimately, yours to ride like the mightiest of dragons.  Maybe your dragon is pink.  Imagine her, imagine her being yours, and you the master of your own destiny, riding into your wildest dreams of health and peace, stronger, better, you.

I know.  It’s so f#*king hard.

I know because in 2006 I gave birth to my second child, and 8 weeks later the world was a ride I wanted to get off.  My mind wouldn’t stop churning, sleep eluded me, and though I knew love was a language I had once spoken with ease, now it was forgotten.  I drifted slowly, then suddenly, into psychosis.  I dreamed I was kidnapped, locked in a dark trunk, suffocating and screaming for my life. 

A week later that dream came true. I was catatonic, and went to the hospital for 7 days.

After all this, I remember a good friend taking me by the shoulders, on my front porch, looking in my eyes with compassion and love.  She said with gravity and rock solid conviction:  You are going to get through this and you are going to rock the world when you do.  We are going to have a party, a “Heidi-conquered-the-world-party”, and the whole world will be invited and will cheer for you.  You’ll see, you are gonna beat this and change the world.

 

I didn’t believe her.  She had no idea.  I had no hope.  How could she know that?  What did she know about this awful state of mind that robs you of your ability to feel, to love, to care, to focus, to sleep, to be kind, to be yourself

 I never forgot that moment.

 

(By the way, she was right.)

 

Don’t forget.  You are gonna beat this.  You are.

 

And when you do, I want you to climb on your pink dragon and scream to the world that you survived, and ride on, ride on, ride on!!!

 

Sending you All my ferocious love,

Heidi Howes

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A little love goes a long way. . .

Just thought I would share that one of my poems was published in an awesome anthology from Kelly Diels of the Cleavage blog, one of my faves. You can download the absolutely FREE e-book here.

Also, I was completely jumping up and down when I saw that my poem was FIRST!  Not that it means anything, of course, but I am still giddy.

YAY!

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What I Learned So Far

What I Learned So Far (by Mary Oliver) Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside, looking into the shining world? Because, properly attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion. Can one be passionate about the just, the ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit to no labor in its cause? I don’t think so.

All summations have a beginning, all effect has a story, all kindness begins with the sown seed. Thought buds toward radiance. The gospel of light is the crossroads of— indolence, or action.

Be ignited, or be gone.

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How to Crush the Self-Doubt and Follow Your Bliss

 

 

Even as we go through the ups and downs of life we need to lift our noses above the water level and smell the beautiful salty air.  Life can't all be about survival or entertainment, we have to find our bliss within the quiet space of our interior voices.  I have been working to follow mine, and I was recently interviewed by the amazing Ria Sharon of the fabulous My Mommy Manual community.  When you get a chance, check it out and let me know your thoughts on that interview or share how you are following your bliss. 

In other news, The Musicians' Assistant just listed a gig at Sonicbids, a website that helps bands connect with people who book or license music. The Sonicbids online community is made up of over 210,000 emerging artists and 19,000 promoters from over 100+ countries worldwide!   I've been working on this for a while now, and I am excited for this new adventure. 

I am a big fan of the blog Postpartum Progress , "the most widely-read blog in the U.S. on depression & anxiety during pregnancy & postpartum."  Yesterday a post on the blog addressing the self-doubt that accompanies PPD really hit home for me.  Of course we all have our obstacles in this arena, but as the article points out, it can be devastatingly amplified for a mother living with PPD.  I have found this to be true for myself, and thank the stars for articles and websites like this that help those suffering in silence to find words for their pain.  Depression is widely misunderstood, and for those of us living with it, the misunderstandings and misperceptions of society as a whole (not to mention friends and family) can lead to even more isolation and inner turmoil.  Read the whole article here , it was a welcome revelation for me!  Please refer anyone you think may need it to Postpartum Progress today.

PRE-ORDER MOTHERSONGS TODAY!:

Here are some awesome ways you can pre-order the new CD, MotherSongs, get some beautiful music, and also help me fulfill this dream (crush my self-doubt and follow my bliss)! There are some other incentives as well:

You can order any of these options:

Everybody who pledges receives a download of the project when it is complete. Additional exclusives include: 1. CD -delivered to your mailbox as soon as it is manufactured $12 2. Signed CD -delivered to your mailbox as soon as I have a chance to sign them $15 3. Signed CD and new Book of Poetry to be released later this year $30 4. Your name in the credits -with a special thank you $50

5. A song about you-I will write a song just for you or someone you love $300 6. Executive producer credit -your name on the album as Executive Producer $500 7. House concert (anywhere in the world) -Your own personal concert, anywhere $1,000

Order NOW through PAYPAL: send me a "gift" through paypal to heidihowes@hotmail.com and specify what you would like to order from the list above

or

Send a Check or Money Order directly to me at 1427 Burnley Square N, Columbus, OH, 43229 and be sure to let me know what you would like.

or

Call me on the PHONE baby, and I can take your card over the phone, or we can just catch up. 715-209-0122

I have shifted the release date to May, so you can still order, and I need about $1000 more to hit my mark and finish the final touches.

Love, Love, LOVE to all of you,

Heidi

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Lead with your Heart

 

Lead with your heart, you said and I took it literally like a manual like the good girl that I am.

I plunged forth against the warnings my heart like the red nose of Rudolph, shining bright into the darkest winds.

How they chapped and whipped the exposed skin, blued and grayed the young pink flesh. See how the world has worn her to a stub, the scar-bright flesh of her glaring in the moonlight?

As I fly, harnessed to this gift-laden sleigh with only the promise of your love-- the dutiful call to serve you-- pressing me on against all odds, against all better judgement this love doesn't exist this gift doesn't exist it is too perfect, too ugly too real, only ours to believe in.

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The Dreaming Guard

There's a bad-ass full moon, it's the middle of the night, and I am ready to let go the dreaming guard.

All week I have been putting off opening my Mondo Beyondo list because I wanted to do it by myself, when I could sip tea at my altar and meditate and when it felt like the "right time".

Truth is, I am scared as hell to open it.

See all this year I have been striving to trust in the power of dreams to show me the way in life, because I am f-ing lost. Nighttime dreams, recurring dreams, nightmares, dream stories, meditative dreams, daydreams -- and now the big life dreams that we are exploring in Mondo Beyond class, the dreams about who I am and how I can best serve in the world with my own uniqueness, and most importantly to me right now, how I can feed my family.

I used to take dreaming for granted. I used to assume my dreams would come true and know that I could make it so, or that they would fall into my lap without much apparent effort on my part.

Yet, as life has turned into *LIFE* and I miraculously learned/earned the experience and gift of deep suffering, some parts of my dreaming spirit have been caged. Caged by poverty, depression, and the ensuing isolation those two things have brought into my experience. Caged by the thoughts that there is not enough of what I need to make my dreams come true.

When you lack resources, when your mind is ill and can't see beyond darkness, it is that much harder to believe in dreams.

But this story has been told many times before. And I don't (am trying not to) buy it.

Blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. . . I may be poor right now, but I am not poor in spirit. Spirit is my mojo and I've got that waking me up in the middle of the night to read this list (my wildest and most mundane dreams all in one): insert abra cadabra

Mondo Beyondo 2010:

Live in Italy for a year and sing Learn Italian Have peace, Happiness, and Joy in my Heart Help people heal Write Books Make the Movie Be more psychic Write a poem every day Build an ashram or retreat center Build a music/writing studio Own a gorgeous and spacious home Beat depression for good Lose 50 pounds Run a marathon Get my yoga instructor certification Visit Swamiji in Nepal Find true joy Be a great mom Make enough money to GIVE LOTS Visit my friends in Germany Have my music featured in Roliing Stone Get a book publishing deal write songs every day Be my own hero Have a 3rd child (this one was written very small at the very end, as if uttered in a very small voice)

The dreaming guard has been let go and I have to remind myself: Be vulnerable, be brave, be flexible, be open, be trusting.

What are your wildest dreams? Do you have a mondo beyondo?

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