Stories of Spirit…Our world in Crisis [depression, anxiety, addiction & suicide]

One of the most noticeable changes I have experienced in my work as a Medium over the last 5 years, has been the increase in Spirits I am connecting with who have been responsible for their own passing.  This number includes suicides, overdoses, and death following reckless action; such as drinking and driving.

When I meet with individuals and families for Spirit Communication I do so with a blank slate; I do not ask questions ahead of time.  In truth, I do not want to know about my clients (both living & dead) before sitting down with them for communication.  This is one of the ways in which I keep sane; keeping my work from personal life.  If I wanted to, I could be interacting with Spirits constantly.  In fact, I have put more effort into controlling when and where they talk to me, then how to get them to talk to me.  This separation also makes the experience more solid for the recipients, for they know that I have not received information about them or their Beloved Dead prior to our scheduled appointment.

With this as practice, each guest living/dead comes into my space and shares their story through me.  Some Spirits speak directly to me, and I simply repeat the words they are using, others show me detailed images of their life and fill me with emotion.  Most Spirits communicate in a mixed combination of both.  Extroverted people are more likely to use words, while introverts are more likely to use imagery and emotion.

Over the last 5 years, I have found myself saying more and more often “Is your loved one responsible for their own passing?”.  I can always tell when a Spirit has passed due to their own actions, for they stand back a bit from me.  This is not done out of shame, but out of a desire to keep their emotional self in check.  Let me explain…

Imagine our emotions to have a setting like a volume dial on a stereo, that goes from 1-10.  Most people go through life with their emotions set at about 3-4 out of 10,  a person struggling with depression and/or anxiety is living with a volume dial set significantly higher; like 8 out of 10.  When we die our emotions are turned way down, to like a 2-3 out of 10.  This allows us to analytically review our life, helping us to see a clearer picture; to know how we were loved, and to see the truth of situations, that may have been clouded by emotion.

When a Spirit comes in contact with a Medium, the volume gets turned up, as they come into the vibration of the living through the energy provided by the Medium.  Mediums are like conduits, energy flows through them in such a way that it can be used by the Spirit world (both the dead & nature).  This extra energy is vital for communication to take place, however, it does make it a bit more tricky when the Spirit at hand has struggled emotionally.  I can generally gauge the health of a Spirit (how much healing has taken place for the soul after death) by how comfortable they are in my space, experiencing emotion.  Sometimes I must rely on my doorman/spirit guide ‘Adam’ to work as a translator; this is only necessary when the soul is still in a deep state of healing and coming in full contact with me & the emotional volume I carry is too difficult for them.

This understanding of emotional level; learned through the Spirit world, has helped me understand the true challenge people with depression, anxiety & addiction face.  They are often blinded to outside factors, as they cannot see past the emotional onslaught they are facing.  Their life from the outside has no say on what is going on in the inside.  Their life could look fantastic to others, filled with exciting vacations, financial stability and still be a living hell.  For the voices they repeat in their mind are often deafening, making it impossible for them to see how much they are loved, and the beauty the world has to offer them.

As a Psychic Medium and Intuitive Healer, I spend a lot of time thinking about depression, anxiety, addiction, and the likes.  In trying to figure out how to help people, I am often looking at the factors outside of “What happened to you?”  for the level of damage is not always a clear indicator.  Some people I meet have experienced truly mind-blowing trauma in their life, and find their way to healing with relative ease.  While others, whose damage would rate significantly lower on the trauma scale, are unable to escape their despair and self-loathing.  At this point, I am still observing, and by no means expect that I am going to come up with a miracle cure for depression, anxiety & addiction.  But one of the things I have observed is that most of the people who struggle the greatest are also highly empathic.

Empathy-Showing the ability to feel and understand others.

Empaths experience the world primarily through their Heart Chakra (one of the 7 major energy centers of the body).  The Heart Chakra is all about love, forgiveness, and healing.  When people think about being intuitive they have a tendency to focus on the Third Eye (center of psychic knowing, intuition, inspiration) & the Crown Chakra (center connected to god/goddess/higher power).  However, they are missing the most used sensing Chakra, the Heart.  We have all pain in our chest when we have been deeply hurt, in fact, we refer to such a feeling as ‘Heartbroken’.   This feeling is not just something we experience in personal settings, we can feel this sensation when watching a sad movie, or seeing a neglected animal.  Empaths have this receptor/the Heart Chakra set on high. It is picking up information from our environment constantly, and the translation is often one in which the situation becomes our own.  Empathic people often struggle with separating the emotions of those they encounter, with those of their own.

Another factor that ways high on my radar, is the fact that we are becoming more Intuitive as a people.  We are going through PSYCHIC EVOLUTION, as a species, we are becoming more receptive.  We have reached a point in which it is not just the people seeking expanded consciousness who are receiving it but so are many, many people who would never ask for it.  The thing about evolution is it kind of sucks…it’s not fun.  Evolution means we are being pushed out of what was normal, we have no idea what to do with the new stuff and must figure it out as we go.  Thankfully when it comes to Psychic Evolution, there are those of us out there who came in as fore-runners, people like myself who have a better grasp on whats happening in the Wyrd/connected to fate end of things.

This by no means is a conclusion, answer, solution…but it is something.  It does help us to get a better understanding of what is happening in our world, a clue into the ‘why’ of rising suicide  & addiction rates.  It is a factor, one that does not stand alone.  For we are also living in a world filled with high stress; environmental disasters, poor governing, greed, and dishonesty.  As people we are complex, there will always be many pieces to the puzzle.

In the work I do as a Medium, I try to help the living family and the Beloved Dead find peace after death.  This is incredibly important when death comes at the hands of self, for it leaves everyone struggling, the living and the dead.  Most of the struggle comes out of religious dogma, and a fear that the soul of our Beloved Dead is now suffering in some kind of hell for taking their own life.  Personally, I find this to be utter bullshit!  For a person to get to the point where they would rather take their own life, then face another day, they have already been in hell.  This is also true for those who die as a result of addiction.  For the addict is a person who spends every day battling themselves.

For those of you out there who have lost a family member or loved one to their own hands; be it suicide, addiction, or recklessness, here is a way for you to aid their soul in healing.

BELOVED DEAD HEALING ALTAR-

You will need- a small stand (window sill, top of dresser, nightstand, etc), pictures/mementos of your Beloved Dead, religious items/sacred items to you or them, and a candle (your choice)

*set up your altar to your visual liking, include photos of your Beloved Dead, special items of theirs, religious/spiritual items, and candle.

*every day at an appointed time (same time each day is best) sit in front of your Beloved Dead Healing Altar, light the candle, and spend 5 minutes talking to your loved one in Spirit, praying for them to find healing, and speaking of your love for them.

*end each session, by telling your Beloved Dead by pledging to them that you are working on healing your own wounds around their passing.  This is very important, as they are often watching over us and seeing how their actions had an effect on our lives.  When we heal ourselves, we help them to heal!

FOR THOSE OF YOU SUFFERING FROM DEPRESSION, ADDICTION,  & ANXIETY- I recommend that you look into what it means to be an empath.  This is not a cure, nor will it do the work for you.  It is not meant to replace counseling or medication, it is simply another tool for the toolbelt, offering you  a way of understanding why your emotions are so high.  Please keep a lookout, I will be offering a class for Empaths in July and repeat them periodically throughout the year.

spreading love-salicrow

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/562306/jump-girl-by-salicrow/9781623171926/

 

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Stories of Spirit…Welcoming Death [the art of the Doula]

Last night at the end of my Sound Meditation class, it came to my awareness that a fellow Reiki Master, friend, and gentle healer had entered into Hospice.  She had fought the good fight with Cancer only to watch it return, this time with death as it’s companion.  The thought crossed my mind of heading straight to her house and catching a ride home later with a friend, but it had been a long day and I opted for riding home with my husband and making a quick dinner.

Waiting on dinner, I checked my Facebook messages and read “You should come sooner than later.  She seems to be holding on,  enjoying time spent with her boys, but her time is close.”

I put down my phone, packed my basket with oils, sage, my drum as well as snacks, water, and coffee.  When death calls, I never know if I will be going for a short visit or a long.  I ate quickly and got in my car, immediately tapping into my dying friend.  Before I was even out of my driveway, I was singing Spirit Song [song of the soul] and could feel the miles between us dissipate.  I was in duel reality…existing both in ordinary reality-driving my car, watching the road & the otherworlda psychic/shamanic state of existence.  In the otherworld, I was sharing space with my friend; as close as if I were sitting by her bedside.  In this state, I could see her life force and recognized that my decision to see her that evening was a good one.  I felt it as an honor and a duty, that death itself was asking me to come recognize such a beautiful soul as she transformed from body to spirit.  Her work as a healer needed to be acknowledged.

When I got to her house, I was touched by the way her family was already showing reverence.  The love in the house was palpable, and there was a somber reverence that spoke of how much they wanted to honor her in her passing.  We spoke for a few moments about creating sacred space when a loved one is passing, and soon they were walking around the house collecting photographs and special items to place on the altar in their mother/friends room.

Creating an Altar for the dying is a beautiful and thoughtful way of calling in the Ancestors to help with the transition between life and death.  I have given directions for creating an Ancestor Altar at the bottom of the article.

As her family gathered pictures and memories, I began to do Reiki on my friend and to sing gently to her.  My song was a continuation of the song I had already been singing to her during the 20-minute ride from my house to hers.  When singing the song of dying, the words are not important, in fact, I seldom sing with words at all.  The song of dying is sung with emotion and reverence for the person awaiting transition and for death itself.  As a Medium, Death is a friend of mine.  I spend much of my life between the veil, communicating with those who have transcended into death.  I have a great respect for death, and can honestly say that I love it.

By loving death, I do not mean that I love pain and suffering.  I mean that I love the act of transition.  Like birth, death is magical, it is more ‘real’ then any other experience we will have in our lives.  When we sit with death we cannot be anything but what we truly are.  We are vulnerable.

Singing to my friend, I began to loosen the strands of life that were sticky; the places she held tight to her body.  I sang and I soothed.  I could feel her life force & was aware that her death would be soon and did not believe she would live another day.  My song was joined by the soft murmurs of the others in the room.  Her children and friends joining in ‘spirit song’, guiding her soul across the veil.  As I held my tones out long, I felt her sliding on the vibration and her breath becoming slower and slower.

Then it was done, my time with her had come to pass.  She would not pass for hours still, but I felt that it was time for me to leave.  I knew she would be gone before long, but that her last hours were for deep quiet and her family alone.

I left her home at the same time as another friend, and we stopped to talk outside the house.  I spoke of how my need to visit; which had been so urgent, felt like administering last rights…kind of like “Hey there, all is well across the veil, safe travels to the Otherworld”.  In such moments, I connect deeply with my ancient self, my priestess self, the tribal shaman, volva-self.  I see this as the holiest of the work I do, for it is never something to plan on, but something that I must do when I feel it’s vibration.  When death asks me to pay a house call, I do so with great reverence for both the dying and the spirit of death alike.

We are changing the way we interact with death, we are remembering the old ways of honoring and reverence.  Families are interacting deeply with the presence of death through hospice, as well as with the art of home funerals and celebrations of life.  We are remembering the sacred and death is becoming a deeper act of healing.  Years of disassociation with death; death behind white curtains, and sterile environments, and funerals without connection to our ancestors put a serious hick-up in our ability to heal and understand death.  That is changing.  Death is an exceptional moment of Spirit.

My friend passed late this morning, and I am happy to know that her spirit is free and she is no longer burdened with a painful body.  I take heart in knowing that one of her dear friends washed and anointed her body with lavender, showing love and kindness in the ceremonial act of preparing her body for death.

Creating an Ancestor Altar for the Dying-

*You will need- a shelf (dresser, portable tray in the hospital, bookshelf, window sill), family photos of living & dead relatives, special treasures (wedding rings, holy items, crystals, etc).

Set the altar up where the dying and the people holding space can see it.  Even if your loved one is unconscious, set the altar up within their personal space.  Invite your ancestors to join you in the room, and to come aid in the passing of your loved one.

My hope is that ‘ancestor honoring’ become a regular part of death and dying.  We need to remember that we are connected on both sides of the veil.  Our Beloved Dead are waiting for us when we cross, and like our living loved ones sit by our side when we are dying, our loved ones in spirit do the same.  One saying goodbye, the other welcoming home.

I hope you enjoyed the read folks…peaceful travels to the spirit world for those who are crossing.

spreading love-salicrow

salicrow.com

STORIES OF SPIRIT…Best Friends with my Spirit Guide [soul-friends]

My book has been out for 3 weeks now, and people are starting to share their experience of reading it, with me.  Most of the feedback has been in regards to similar personal psychic experiences people have had, and how they gained intuitive insight from reading how I navigated my own Psychic development.  The other sharing I have experienced is that people recognizing the people & places in my story.  This is not all that unusual as I have lived within an hour radius of the Connecticut River for the entirety of my life (minus a few months in Maryland here and there).  Vermont & New Hampshire are my home; particularly the areas of the Northeast Kingdom, and the White Mountains.

Last week one of my community friends brought up Adam when she spoke of my book and how the reading of my relationship with him affected her.  She recognized Adam, she remembered him, she loved him and as she spoke of him tears welled up in her eyes.  At that moment I could feel Adam standing in my space, I looked at the tears in her eyes and I could feel his heart filled with love.  This, of course, made me want to reciprocate with tears of my own.

I changed some names in my book, but not Adams, he insisted that his name and story be mentioned, after all, Adam’s story and my story have been woven together for the last 15 years.  Anyone who has ever done a Seance with me knows who he is.  For those of you who have not, Adam is my doorman; the spirit guide who holds the job of watching my back and organizing traffic in the spirit world.  I call him my doorman because I use to own a bar, and the job is pretty similar.  He decides who come in, who is not welcome and delivers messages for spirits who need a bit of help communicating with me.  Although I knew him briefly in life, our friendship is something that has developed after his death.  I love Adam and consider him one of my dearest friends.

When my friend spoke of Adam she mentioned how tragic it was that his life was cut short.  I understood what she meant for he was a remarkable soul, but I couldn’t help but smile.  My immediate response was to say “He still is making a difference, he is still working toward a goal.”  I often refer to Adam as the ‘hardest working spirit I have ever met”.  He goes to work with me every time I do Spirit Communication, which means he is working a full-time job in the afterlife. Like me he is a healer, helping people to find peace in knowing that their Beloved Dead are ok.

Adam has taught me so much in the years we have been connected.  But the most important lesson he has taught me is that older spirits, ones who have been around for awhile, often continue their work between death.  He has shown me the dedication that spirit guides can carry and how much they are willing to be present in the world of the living. They care about what’s happening here, and the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is getting thinner.

I appreciate all the feedback, and love hearing your experiences through reading it.  I hope that you are all fortunate enough to gain the peace of connecting with your Beloved Dead.

spreading love-salicrow

Stories of Spirit…True Love & Death [loosing our life partner]

Next week is my 25th wedding anniversary!  My husband and I met when we were 18 & 19 and have had a love affair ever since.  That is not to say we have never had obstacles to overcome, but in truth, we are best friends and are fortunate to still have a passionate, layered relationship that brings both of us much joy.  We are truly partners in that we have always shared our life.  Right from the start, we shared bank accounts, cars, mortgages and household belongings.  We have friendships outside of one another, but as a general rule what is mine is his and his mine.  I am aware of how fortunate we are to have such a relationship, and am often reminded of the pain the death of such a person brings.

As a Medium, my work brings me up close in personal with the details of peoples lives.  I often say that I am a guest at other peoples family reunions.  I listen as Uncle Joe describes his hot rod antics, as he tells of driving down back roads during prohibition, and watch as Grandma shows me through the inside of her immaculate farmhouse.  Through words and pictures, I see prayers stuck to walls in ancient cities, as a dead mother describes how she watched her living daughter during a pilgrimage.  I smell the cigarettes burning during the visit of this one’s father, and I hear the deep resonance of another’s voice as they sing to me, so that I can tell their family how musical they were.  These details are interesting and bring confirmation to the living guests that I am indeed in communication with their Beloved Dead.  But for me, the real bit, the piece that sticks to me is the love.  I feel it!

When working with Spirits I am connected to their energy field and through this, I am often able to feel their memories.  I can tell where they held pain and illness in their body because I feel it like a dull ache in my own, and I can feel deeply their emotions.  I can tell when a Spirit is nervous, this happens particularly if there is unfinished business between the living and the dead.  I can also feel the depth in which they loved their living counterparts.  This is a truly amazing thing to experience, for through this gift I know what it feels like to love a complete stranger.

This week I met with a client for a one on one session; whose husband had passed.  As with most of my Individual Spirit Communication sessions, I expected it to be emotional, deep and healing.  As I sat with her passing messages from her husband, I felt like I was the narrator of a love story.  Her husband spoke to me/through me, talking about their life together.  He shared stories of their meeting, how they had both been married before, he spoke of their being a team, that they did everything together and often just the two of them.  He spoke of the home they built together, and his favorite chair in the living room and the view from the window that the room had been designed around.  He spoke of their Carribean escape and the many planned adventures that unfortunately did not come to pass.  But more then anything, he kept coming back to the deep well of love that they shared, and through his words and energy, I knew what that well felt like.

These meetings; in which I am the spiritual go-between for lovers separated by death, hit me on a personal level, for I know that I too will someday experience the tremendous loss that comes from the loss of ones soul partner to death.  Yet, I know that my loss will never have the completeness that others experience, as I am a clear communicator between the world of the living and the dead.  I will still be able to speak to my husband from whichever side of the veil I exist on.

Often when I am speaking to lovers separated by death, I remind them of how fortunate they are, explaining how many never get to experience a love so deep and complete.  This does not diminish the pain of loss, in fact, the pain felt by such a loss can often be debilitating as their lives have been so closely woven together that finding where one begins and one ends can seem impossible.  When death comes in and does it’s little dance, the living partner is often left floating adrift in the deep water, wondering where the familiar life they have known has gone to.  They find themselves questioning if they even want to return to where they have come from, or head instead for the distant shore of recreation.  For they have become a stranger to themselves, half of what they once were.

The love though…oh the fortunateness of experiencing such beauty!  It is what we all search for, deep inside we are looking for another who totally gets us.  We all want that special someone who walks a parallel path and co-creates the dream with us.  Those of us who are lucky enough to experience such a thing should relish in every minute of it, and remember that someday it will come to an end and when it does the pain will be great.  I do not say this to create sorrow or to make people fear the loss of their beloved, but instead to make those who have true love remember what a precious gift it is.  I write this in celebration of such beauty, and as a reminder to those who have lost their true love, that you are among the fortunate and blessed, the ones given the opportunity to know such harmony.

May you be fortunate enough to know the depths of true love!

 

spreading love-salicrow

 

Stories of Spirit…Embracing the Stories of our Kin [the strength of ancestors and stories]

I woke up this morning thinking about Grammy Bickford, my husband’s grandmother.  Grammy was a tough old bird, with a whole lot of sass, and a deep well of love.  She was on my mind this morning as I was thinking of how hard this winter has been for many people…broken furnaces, car problems, emotional/mental exhaustion and brrr freakin’ cold.  I thought of Grammy like I do often in the winter, I thought of her stories of growing up in a logging camp, of snow blowing through the cracks in the walls and of walking to school with plastic bags around your socks to keep your feet dry.  I hear her voice telling stories of eating lard sandwiches and sharing a bed with her siblings for warmth.  She did not tell these stories with sorrow and pain.  She told them with laughter and a sense of victory, for she had overcome such battles.

When the world seems dark and filled with obstacles I think back on my ancestors and I am thankful for the coziness of my life.  Like Grammy Bickford, my own grandparents lived in a similar way.  I suppose it is why she instantly became kindred to my heart, she reminded me of my own grandmother, who was also a woman of great strength and love.  My life has always been one woven with the threads of my ancestors.  Their stories became my stories over time, and I found that by remembering their hardships and victories, I felt less alone when things were tough.  I knew that like them, I had within me the ability to find happiness and joy even when the world around me was challenging and filled with hardship.  I was more than my single vibration, I was part of a symphony.

I believe this year is going to be a powerful one of change and opportunity, but like all things, we must experience the good with the bad.  There will be hurdles to overcome and fucked up moments to navigate.  It is our mindset that truly determines our happiness in life.  Like Grammy Bickford and my grandmother, Grammy Brown, I choose to approach my obstacles with a bit of humor and an understanding that this too shall pass, that the moment I am in is simply a part of that which I am becoming.

In all of the grand stories of adventure, there are always hardships to endure, and obstacles to overcome.  Bilbo didn’t mosy off into the enchanted forest to frolick with singing elves.  He was not delivered on flying unicorn or magical chariot to the doors of dragon treasure.  He was not welcomed in by the dragon, given a pipe and welcomed to warm his feet by the fire.  He persevered, he endured; he laughed, he cried, he was dirty and hungry and yet what a fuckin story he had to tell in the end.  Life is about change, and change is never a straight shot to happy-ville.  It is a learning experience.  My husband likes to say “God does not care about your comfort, God cares about your character”.  I believe this to be true, for many of the most amazing people on this planet have become so while experiencing hardship.  Jesus, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Joan of Arc, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela…there is a whole lot of struggle in those stories.  There is also a whole lot of beauty, kindness, and love.

I invite you to step into this year with the heart of an adventurer, viewing obstacles as an opportunity to become more.  When things do not go according to plan, look around and see what the universe is presenting to you.  What pieces of beauty and humor lie on your path while you are navigating the difficulties.  Who presents themselves to you as allies, what ancestors come forward in your mind and heart to share in your journey.  Remember, we can think thousands of thoughts at any given moment, what makes you think of them?  Perhaps it is because they are thinking of you.

Our story is woven together with the stories of those who came before us, and those who come after us.  Together our blood sings the story of our people.  The stories would be a hell of a lot more boring if everything always went according to plan, and we did nothing but sit around under a cabana with our feet in the sand drinking mimosas.  We need challenges to show us what we are capable of.  We need hurdles on the road so we can learn to problem solve, we need wild paths through the wilderness of life so we can learn to navigate the unknown.  We need magic and mystery, and we need companions so that the road seems less daunting.  Remember this when times are tough, look into the future and imagine with a grin, how you will tell the story of your adventures to those who follow.

We are co-creators of reality…how will you create your story?

spreading love-salicrow

 

 

Stories of Spirit…The Holidays [boundaries, new traditions & self care]

I love the holiday season.  I love the lights, the music, and the holiday cheer.  I do not like expectations, over-doing, and giving for the sake of ‘have to’.  I gave all of that up a long time ago.

About 15 years ago I had a major opening to Spirit which I refer to as ‘the November Incident’.  It was so all-consuming that it takes up two chapters in my book Jump Girl, the initiation, and art of a Spirit Speaker.  (release date-2/13/2018).

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/562306/jump-girl-by-salicrow/9781623171926/

During the November Incident, the world of spirit opened to me so intensely that I had a hard time keeping up with my daily life; let alone performing the holiday magic I had done for so many years.  I even struggled with being present at my favorite holiday party; spending 15 minutes locked in the bathroom, trying to regain a sense of center.

Now, I understand that the shamanic opening I experienced during the November Incident is far outside of the normal range.  But all the same, it taught me that I like many people do way too much during the holiday season.  We run around in a hubbub of ribbons, candy and shopping centers, filling our obligatory list of buying, visiting and celebration.  But the pace that most of us keep at this time, and the to-do list we create for ourselves has a tendency to suck any holiday spirit we may have from our tired, over-stimulated souls.

During the November Incident, I was forced to slow down.  I did not have the mental capacity, nor the physical energy for hours of shopping, nor did I have the focus to withstand hours of holiday parties I didn’t really want to be at.  Instead, I chose to slow down, do less, spend less, and be more present.  The functions I did attend, I did because I wanted to.  The gifts I gave came from my heart.  I stopped the bullshit of ‘I need to have something for everyone’, and chose instead to give of myself.

Many years have passed since Spirit ripped the veil from my sight, but the holiday traditions I chose at my time of opening are the ones I continue today.  I have stepped away from shopping malls, and ridiculous baking list, instead choosing to spend time with people I love.  I send Yule cards instead of buying gifts, some are real with my handwritten blessings inscribed on paper, some of virtual, but they all mean something.  My gift giving list has been greatly reduced, as I feel we all have way too much as it is, and no one needs me to buy them a cheese slicer with matching knife set.

My opening gave me permission to stop doing.  I was able to step back from the obligation that the holiday season has become and found in it the feeling of happiness, and celebration I knew as a child.  I love coffee dates with old friends, holiday music playing on the radio, and I love the lights & greenery.  I do not want presents, and specifically ask my children and family members not to give me gifts, unless they felt a deep calling to do so.  To my children and grandchildren, I give gifts of things they need, like tires, car batteries, bed sheets, and socks.  When it comes to toys I choose wisely, I ask myself if they will still enjoy it after the ribbons, bows, paper, and sugar have worn off.

When approaching the holidays this year I suggest you ask yourself a few questions.  “Do I want to do this?”,  “Will my item be appreciated, or am I just buying for the sake of giving?”, “What do I need?”  “What do the people on my list need?”, “How do I want to celebrate this year?”

Traditions are not just something from the past that we must recreate.  They all came from somewhere, at some point they were new, fun and worth repeating.  Which means we can create new traditions now, traditions that fit our lifestyle and beliefs.  We can choose to have a tree or decorate a houseplant.  We can choose to not decorate at all.  We can choose to eat pizza for Christmas dinner instead of holiday hams and hours of cooking.  We can designate a pajama holiday instead of a fancy dress event.  We can choose to be happy for the holidays instead of overstressed, sugar bombed and broke.

My work with the Beloved Dead has shown me that we do not give a flying-fuck what we got for Christmas from Grandma when we were 8.  What we remember is the house filled with laughter, the smell of yummy food, and the feeling of love.  We remember emotions, events, and silly stories.  So go out and make memories that feel good.  Stop doing what others expect, create new boundaries that keep you happy and healthy during the holiday season, and remember to spread love.  It’s what it’s all about folks.

spreading love-salicrow