A Tribute to Women-Deborah Sampson Garrett (War)

My teenage years were in the 90’s.  A strange time for women.  There were mixed messages everywhere.  One one hand, we were taught that women could be whatever they wanted to be: sexy, smart, stay-at-home moms, business women, farmers, etc.  One the other hand, there was an undercurrent of disrespect and mistrust.  Most often women distrusting or disrespecting other women.  The competition can seem fierce for the best man or the best job or the best education, so in all of the messages that sang our praises, there were messages that told us to beware of one another.

I cast off this feeling many years ago, but I remember it and recognize it in others.  I have many female friends who have a limited amount of female friends because of these very reasons.   For as much as we may salivate over friendships like the ones we’ve seen in Sex and the City and The Golden Girls, few of us can put down the sword long enough to let other women in.  Many of us are too busy competing and comparing and do not want someone else to see what is behind the curtain.  I found that putting my curtain down and allowing my female friends to take a top shelf in my life has been one of the best things I have ever done.

Due to these enlightenments, these next few posts will deal with and highlight strong (sometimes famous) women.  These are women who I have learned about recently and who showed remarkable strength in the face of adversity.  Perhaps this will awaken you to the possibility of allowing your female friends and acquaintances more of a role in your life.

Deborah Sampson Garrett disguised herself as a man to fight in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.  For seventeen months of her life, she masqueraded as Robert Shurtliff until she was wounded and honorably discharged.  What amazes me most is the fact that this woman was surrounded by a society that did not support a woman in combat, but she rose above this stereotype to claim her place in history.  There is a part in all of us that can guide us to that type of strength if we dare to see it.

At 5′ 7″ she supposedly had little trouble dressing and looking the part of a man, and even dug a musket ball out of her own leg with a pen knife to avoid detection and then she continued fighting.  Eventually, she came down with a fever and was treated by a doctor who also kept her secret, but she was discharged soon after with a note of advice and some money.

After her time in the army, she fought to get her soldier’s pension from the government for her time spent in combat.  She won that fight also.  The General Court of Massachusetts verified her service and wrote the following: “[Sampson] exhibited an extraordinary instance of female heroism by discharging the duties of a faithful and gallant soldier, and at the same time preserving the virtue and chastity of her sex unsuspected and unblemished.”

To all of the women who serve our country with gallantry and bravery…I hold you in the highest regard.  Thank you.


The Beauty of Butterflies

After a series of difficult days, I find myself still in the midst of sadness.  I almost didn’t want to write this, but I am starting on a path of admitting my vulnerabilities, so perhaps this is where I start.

Yesterday I found out that a coworker with whom I’ve grown close resigned his position.  He called me last night to tell me.  He is heading back from New Mexico to donate all of his possessions, wrap up loose ends, and say goodbye to his good friends.  He asked if he could see me before he moved permanently to New Mexico.  He described all of the wonderful kismet, cosmic coincidences he’s been experiencing.  I told him that is what happens when you realize you are on your true path, but the truth is that I am so sad that he is leaving.  

Later that day, I took the boys to the arboretum.  First we visited the Butterfly House.  A wonderful little garden that is screened in so that people can walk through and see the stages of the butterfly.  The older woman showed us two tiny baby caterpillars that we were told would grow fat and turn into Monarchs within the next few months.  She gave us a magnifying glass so we could see its markings.  Other types of butterflies fluttered around our heads and one landed on my son’s shirt.  He laughed as he stared down at the Yellow Swallowtail.   

We left the Butterfly House and wandered through the woods. A large section of the grassy way was covered with large and cumbersome rocks.  Among these rocks, I saw a glint of orange and black.  I thought for a moment that the Monarch butterfly had merely lighted on the side of the rock, and I was amazed at how it just sat there while we got even closer.  It took only a few moments to realize that this butterfly was not brave.  It was dead.  I knelt down next to it, and realized this was the closest I could ever get to a Monarch, but the irony was not lost on me that it was also because it was lifeless.  I showed my boys and we took turns holding it.  I never noticed how black the body of a Monarch is with its white splotches and paper thin wings.  How could something so delicate be so strong?  My youngest son’s finger wiped at the wing and a slight powder slid into the air.  

It was here that I also remembered the movie we had watched together at the Franklin Institute about the flight of the Monarch Butterfly.  It is a story that revolved around one man’s forty year search for an answer to how the Monarch Butterfly makes the longest known migration from Mexico to Canada.  The story ends in 1976 when the aging scientist visits the final destination of the Monarchs in Canada.  One of his tagged butterflies was found here, and he is able to put all of the pieces together and find the answer to all of his questions.  His life-long quest was complete. 

We laid the Monarch back on the rock.  My final thoughts before we continued on our journey were of knowing that each path has a process.  It makes progress in its own time. Sometimes the path is clear and the signs let us know that we are going the right way and sometimes the journey is arduous and long with few signs that we are on the right path, but the road still needs to be taken because there are great mysteries to uncover.    

Butterfly Life Cycle

Day ??? of Feeling Not So Stellar

I am really in a terrible mood. I went from bad to worse, and I can’t seem to get back on track.  The worst part is that I am not sure why.

I have tried all of my usual remedies to no avail.  I’m reading, running, swimming, meditating, biking, etc, and each one gives a brief respite, but it just keeps coming back to this.

This funkiness is pervasive and heavy.  I am rethinking every major decision I’ve made in the past three years.  I am wondering how I got to this place.  Why do I suddenly feel so trapped again?

It is only the middle of summer. I have so many more days left to spend with my boys, and I don’t want to ruin it.  This is what I do. I am so much better at understanding other people’s emotions, but when it comes to my own, I just can’t wrap my mind around it.

I just need to have faith that the answer will arrive.  Maybe it will be here in a Tiffany blue box with a pretty bow.  Wishful thinking…

Spiritual Elitism and the Empath

I think my spiritual adviser may be an elitist.  Don’t get me wrong.  She’s great.  My adviser is a little over sixty years old and looks like she’s in her forties.  She has a calming voice and a strong and sturdy disposition.  My abilities makes it difficult to find a good therapist because I start to get too wrapped up in their feelings and emotions.  I make it more about analyzing them, but my adviser has a great vibe to her.  She is clear and unfettered and it makes it easier for me to focus on me.  

She has been extremely helpful over the last year.  She has helped me through some bumps and bruises with the Empath stuff, and she has been infinitesimally beneficial with helping me through my divorce.  It’s just something she said the last time we met.

I was talking about my spirit guides, and as soon as I mentioned that I consulted them, I felt the wariness.

“Hmmm,” she said.   “You have to be careful with that.”

“Oh?” I said.  

“You’re so sensitive that you could just be tapping into the lower astral planes and you want your vibration to be much higher than that.  Just tap into your soul’s energy on the highest plane possible.  You don’t want to get caught up with spirits in the lower planes.  They just like to cause trouble.”

“Well, how do I know if they are just coming from that part of the astral plane and not from some higher plane?”  Now I was feeling very confused.  Something I was so sure of suddenly felt rocky.  I had conversations in my mind with my spirit guide.  He appeared to me during one of my meditations.

“You’ll hear words,” she said.  “If you hear words, then it’s from the lower astral planes.”

I didn’t take it any further, but I pretended to get it.  I still don’t get it.

“The people who use their abilities to communicate with loved ones are accessing the baser astral planes.  You want to go much higher than that.  You should not try and contact the dead.  There is no real resolve there for people.  It shouldn’t be necessary.” 

“Oh,” I answered.

“You are a really strong Empath. You need to be careful and make sure you are only ever dealing with the highest vibrations.”

“Oh,” I answered again.

I didn’t really fully digest this conversation until later, but I just don’t view it that way.  I respect my teacher.  She has given me really valuable insights, and I truly don’t want to question her knowledge. I can feel how centered and capable she is, but now I am a bit confused.  

Do people hear actual words as if they are real sounds?  I hear words in my head, but they are more like images, and they seem to be in a nondescript voice.  It feels more like a thought form really.  

I also never really thought about the astral plane or any other plane as being more of a slum than a place of knowledge.  Are the lower astral planes like going Wildwood as opposed to the Hamptons?  They’re both the beach, but one is much more exclusive. And if I’ve never even been to the beach before, does it really matter where I start?  Is this the way it works on a spiritual level too?  Don’t I have to work my way up?

Overall, I will have to talk more with her about this, but maybe I want to slum it in the lower astral planes for awhile.  

Difficult Day


I am not having a good day.  It’s not terrible.  I just feel like I am covered in this negative energy.  Things are not working out. I feel frustrated and irritated.

I feel upset that things are not happening the way that I want them to happen.  I want to have a temper tantrum.  I wish I could throw myself on the floor like my three-year-old and kick until these feelings go away.

In my head, I feel like people are annoying and disappointing and situations just want to work against me.  Though these spirals are much more rare nowadays, I still get tied up in them.

I have tried all of my tried-and-true ways for lifting this rut.  None of them are working.  I guess I just have to bear it.  The path leads through it, but this is just so uncomfortable.  I can’t even really blame this on anyone else.  I think this negativity is mine, but I am not sure.  My younger brother just went through a really bad breakup and was sitting to my left at dinner last night.  I may have absorbed some of his energy.  I don’t always know when it is someone else’s.



My Inner Voice

runningI woke up this morning feeling annoyed.  My eyes opened and I wondered, “What am I still doing here? Why am I still living here with him in this house?”  I looked at an apartment the other day.  It was nice, but it still didn’t feel right.  At the time, I trusted my gut and I let it go.  It just wasn’t right, but this morning I woke up thinking I made a mistake.

Maybe I can call him and see if it is still available.  I can handle the money situation.  It will be fine.  In the midst of these random thoughts and worries, I decided to go for a run.

As I was running, I started to feel lighter.  Running is truly a spiritual practice for me.  I felt the oneness that always flows into me while I am running.  I feel stronger, clearer.  Colors become brighter; and an awareness settles in.

As I started to take the last hill, I had to slow down.  Words bubbled to the surface of my mind as I worried that my current pace would cause me to start walking.  “Slowing down is not the same as stopping.”  Yes, I thought in response.  My slow pace is not the same as standing still.  I had stood still for so many years. I know what that feels like, but that is not what I am doing now.  I am taking my time, I thought.  I need to take my time because of my boys, but I also need to progress for me.  I am finding the balance.

These affirmations assured me as I went up that hill and the shorter hill that followed.  When my house finally came into view again, I felt an inner peace.  This is exactly where I need to be right now.

Doubt and the Empath

There are times when I know that my ability to see and know things exists.  It exists inside of me beyond any reasonable doubt.  It is usually after I feel something that is validated by another, and I know that all of this is very real.

Other times I feel something and it is not validated.  I am wrong or I just don’t feel anything when it seems like I should.  These are the times that I wonder if I am just imagining all of this.  Especially if I am wrong, and I feel like the person is looking me and doubting.  It magnifies the doubt in myself.

Recently I started really reading up on the topic, and I realized that being right and being wrong is just a part of the process.  The validation gives me the courage to proceed and continue to voice what I see.  I try to be gentle with myself because I learned the harder I push, the more anxiety I create, and then I go into my head.  When my head gets involved, I am always wrong.  It is teaching me to trust my instincts and trust that I cannot and should not “know” everything.  It is a powerful and humbling experience, but it is one that I want to go through.

If you are like me, and you feel like you just know things, but you don’t trust yourself, let that go.  Let go of your doubt.  You will still be wrong sometimes, but those times that you are right will make all of the difference.