Monday, July 28, 2014

Can it be as simple as ALL the Masters have said?

I was searching thru my youtube videos for a slideshow of a wedding I photographed and found this.

Many of you know I have  been asked to speak from time to time... this is a recording of me practicing one of my speeches.

8 minutes worth your time.

Forgive the quality and the sweats....but the message is good. I never got a video of the real presentation.

It's this page.
Ps. Jeralee Underwood is my distant cousin.



Take it like a Girl

I was belt spanked as a kid.

The truth is---- while I don't implement this method of discipline for my kids; I wasn't abusively spanked. It was a different time and spanking was a normal repercussion of misbehaving. My dad never used a belt on me in anger.


Why BLOG about it.....?

The eyes.

I am one of 5 daughters in my family. I remember doing something "wrong" ------- honestly, I don't remember exactly what, but that I had done something that deserved some "talking to" and the scenario was such that I stood in front of my father who was looking at me sternly and my head was down, shamed, staring at the ground.

My dad said something that hit me like a brick, but has shaped my life since.... here it goes:

"Look me in my eyes. If you were tough enough to do it... (whatever it was) then you are tough enough for the consequences."

And.................. I did.

Reminiscing now, all I can do is shake my head at myself.
While I see and know that CONSEQUENCES are one of the most LOVING gifts we give to our children and that they are a way to learn our lessons- my personality is one with "IRON WILL."

My well intending parents did the best they could in order to harness my tendency towards stubbornness and free will and by imparting me consequences... I suppose they DID actually waylay many unrealized feats of trouble I could have gotten myself into.


A story one of my many sisters tells is coming home from school to find me in the storage room sitting in the Chest Freezer, my legs dangling over the side...
She asked "What are you doing?"
I replied "Well, it's just a matter of time before Mom and Dad find out I did .....(whatever) So I'm getting ready."
I was numbing my butt.



In the end, LIFE deals us our most harsh back lashes. I don't know that I ever REALLY learned my lessons, but I do know that because I knew I would have a punishment; spanking, grounding, privileges revoked, etc. I did thoughtfully consider the MAYHEM I routinely got myself into.

Often, I accepted the punishment BEFORE I committed the crime. Often, I knew I would pay a price... and weighed the options, and considered my actions.... and chose to CONTINUE on... lol.

But the lesson I am most grateful for was probably that line my dad gave me.
"Look into my eyes."

He never let me sell out. He taught me to have COURAGE to face my life and choices. He never tried to subdue me- only teach me. 

It's impossible to count the times I've gotten myself into a "damnit" moment... but I've had the courage to take it.

So here we are.

Thanks Dad.




Sunday, July 27, 2014

We are Earth

I sometimes hear the phrases  "climbing the ladder" or "taking the next step"  or "reaching the next level..." these all refer to life as LINEAR.

I see life as SPHERICAL.

I've never left something behind... beliefs, people, lessons, religions, education, etc. What I have done is grown larger and pushed the limits, still embodying my past and all the experiences that were there while expanding to know more.

So many times we compare ourselves to others... this is very linear too. Comparison. Seeing others as higher or lower, farther along or not as far as us... I do it too sometimes- just being honest.

But as I look at myself as SPHERICAL than the image of Mother Earth comes to mind;


At any given time, somewhere on her, there are volcano eruptions, tornadoes, and thunderstorms. Sequentially, there are sunrises and sunsets, cool breezes and beautiful meadows.

Relationships, learning, acknowledged truth.... EVERYTHING in our lives is SPHERICAL.

At any given moment there are things working well in our lives - the Meadows... and there are things that are imbalanced - the earthquakes.

I, myself, have often judged myself for the chaos... the issues of health or lack of enlightenment I am experiencing while discounting the Roses, the Mountain Stream, the Sunrise along the horizon.

We are always expanding. I will always have "areas" that deserve balancing and in other "areas" I will be balanced.

The contrast is Perfect.

~Katie Jo

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Monday, July 21, 2014

The Day I Didn't Die

I've kept a journal since I was 5 years old.

As a teen it was my only safe place.
The only place I felt like I could say what I wanted to say, think what I wanted to think, be open, be vulnerable... be ME.

This is an excerpt from the entry I wrote in the Mental Hospital after I had attempted suicide:

"I'm in the nuthouse. I tried to overdose on Friday and I'm in the pshyc ward in our community hospital. I don't know why I did really... Nicole was crying because the guy she likes- likes me. Cody and Jon are fighting because of me. My parents are upset and disappointed in me. I just got tired of being the problem.
I gained some weight and Liz and Becky are so thin. Even here, there's an anorexic who weighs 87 pounds. I wish I was thinner. I wished I could disappear. I still do. I just needed a break. I should have done it another way.... taken a vacation- I don't know what I could have done, but I should have known better. These people haven't helped me. There has only been one orderly named Greg who has spoken to me like I'm a human being also.

My parents are pretty angry at me. I think they are pretty embarrassed. I guess that I am too."

After I was released from the hospital I began a strange calm and chaos in my life. People were different around me. They knew I was slightly crazy.

Cody's sister, Misha showed up at my house and told me to pack my things and I was moving into her house.

She let me stay there for free. Every few days she wrote me a letter and left it on my door. The letters told me to have a good day. Told me the things she saw in me that were good and that she loved me.

I still have those letters. 17 years later.

She let me take down the closet doors and paint them. I painted and painted and sketched and sketched. On anything and everything.

My creations made me feel less alone.

I remember staying up through the night sketching this with a bic pen on a piece of cardboard:


I remember looking at it for a long time....

I had been feeling like I had no place in the world, I had nothing to offer the world and that it was no better for having me in it... if not worse.
I remember thinking I could die and no one would notice or care... that there was nothing I contributed to the world and I would disappear as if I had never existed....

But, This sketch was a turning point for me. I looked at it and thought "Well, I guess there's that. If I wasn't here in the world this wouldn't be either."

Not that it was perfect or artistically sound... but it was mine. It was something I made and I liked. I realized it didn't have to be "Perfect" to be something that mattered. I still have this piece of cardboard.

The road SELF-ACCEPTANCE didn't end there... but perhaps began there. I've had a rollercoaster of a path since then as many of you know; but most importantly, I know that the reason I am so committed and passionate to serve others to see SOMETHING- anything about themselves that is wonderful... that we see each other as what we TRULY are---- not what the 3rd dimensional world tells us we are... is because I have lived the life I have.

I was the misfit, the outcast, the blacksheep, the one to be ashamed of.....

I create drum circles to teach and to learn and to share time and space with others looking for somewhere to be free and selfless and loving. A safe place for people to unify and dance and come from the heart.... I don't curse the pain I've walked through- it's the fire that fuels my passion to alleviate suffering of those I see.

Misha, saved my life by seeing good in me that I didn't see.

I have taken a stand to do the same.
That is why I have THE I AM MESSAGE. That is why it matters.

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