unlovable by Erica Kathleen

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You know that whole, “You’ll never find someone to love you, until you love yourself, and are whole all by yourself.” ??
For the record... is total and complete horse shit.
For 2,310 days, this man has loved me. UNCONDITIONALLY.
I am yet to “be whole”.
I am yet to “love myself.”
And not for one minute of one of those 2,310 days, has he wavered.
Not one minute.
My therapist told me, “He’s your biggest trigger.”
Which, at first, I was pissed, and like “No fucking way.”
Then it seeped in.
Of course he is.
He IS the physical manifestation of everything that challenges me.
Do you see?
Just by existing.
Just by loving me.
I have, what we call in therapy, “core negative beliefs” about myself.
These aren’t in my head, and can’t be “fixed” by talking or thinking therapies (Complex PTSD).
These beliefs are in my body, my bones, my cells.
They can only be healed by going into my body and FEELING them.
I believe “I am unlovable.”
... for 2,310 days, this man has shown me, unequivocally, that he loves me.
I believe “I am broken.”
... for 2,310 days, he has shown me, that I am amazing, always, and never once made me feel damaged or broken.
So... do you see?
His presence in my life, PROVES that my beliefs are not true.
So, yes, when I’m feeling broken and unlovable, and he’s by my side, loving the shit out of me, with stars in his eyes... it triggers my stuff.
I also believe that this is the only way I could find my way to healing.
So the next time someone tells you, “You’ll never find someone until you love yourself” ... PLEASE remember this. 💛

xo, EK


you are the medicine. by Erica Kathleen

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so, this whole, healing thing. it’s pretty amazing.

my last doctor appointment, my blood doctor said, “I’m so happy for you! I’m so proud of you! Not many people would willingly do this work. They’d rather keep going from doctor to doctor.” Now, I don’t know if that’s true or not. I for sure, went to a shit-ton of doctors. Specialist after specialist. I wanted an answer. I wanted a reason for the pain. I wanted an explanation for why I felt like I was dying. I told him, “I just wanted to know why! And now that I know, and I know that I have the power to change it, I’m going to do everything in my power to fix it!” He smiled. He hugged me. Again, he said, “I’m really proud of you.”

I still have my blood disorder. It’s genetic. So I’ll always be dealing with that. But it’s not taking center stage anymore. It’s not getting the limelight.

Eventually, I did get my answer. I got my reason. I got my explanation. Complex PTSD.

You may think, like I did, that this is a mental thing. You may think, like I did, that it’s “all in your head.”

I was wrong. VERRRY wrong.

Complex PTSD (C-PTSD) is a disregulation of the nervous system. Meaning, your nervous system is out of whack.

Your nervous system is a pretty important thing. It’s in charge of healthy digestion, sleep, immune system functioning, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, relaxation, digestion, regeneration and SO MUCH MORE.

Do you even know what C-PTSD can do to your body?

Medically unexplained physical symptoms . . .

chronic pain

sleep difficulties

irritability

poor concentration

depression

anxiety

dysautonomia

irritable bowel syndrome

nonulcer dyspepsia

fibromyalgia

chronic fatigue syndrome

autoimmune diseases

rheumatoid arthritis

psoriasis

insulin-dependent diabetes

thyroid diseases

and a TON more

You starting to get the idea? Your nervous system is in charge of a LOT of important stuff. So, when your nervous system is messed up . . . it can wreak havoc on your body.

I could go on & on, but at the risk of sounding like a biology teacher. I’ll leave it at that. If you' wanna know more, THIS book has a LOT of scientific stuff on C-PTSD, which personally, I find fascinating ;)

Anywhooo . . . one thing that I find absolutely LIBERATING . . . is that I’m in charge here. I’m responsible for my healing.

No doctor, no needle, no pill, no infusion, no surgery, no procedure . . . no, me laying there & having someone else responsible for fixing me.

Me.

Yes, there are people who are helping me on this journey. Yes, I am seeing a therapist. Yes, I am taking a class. Yes, I am reading books.

But do you see? Without my effort. Without my determination. Without my willingness to DO this hard work, nothing would change.

and so, I offer you my newest art piece.

“I am the medicine.”

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I’m pretty sure I’m gonna get this tattooed on my bod somewhere . . . maybe above my port or the iliac crest of my pelvis? not sure yet ;)

but

it’s true.

I AM THE MEDICINE.

and my friends,

YOU are the medicine.

You are YOUR medicine.

We got this.

We can do this.

We are doing it.

We are healing.

and I’m so fucking proud of us.

xo, EK

ps. “I am the medicine” is an 11x17” (BIG!) original mixed media painting, on mat board & is up for a 24 hour LIVE Auction over on Instagram HERE. If you don’t have an IG account & want to bid on it, shoot me an email HERE & let me know your highest bid. I’ll bid for you ;)



Superhero by Erica Kathleen

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Where to even begin? I have so many things to tell you. I think I’ll have to go in steps, chapters, working backwards, because I’m really fucking excited about where I am, right NOW.

So, if you follow me on FB or Insta, you’ve surely noticed a shift. I want to share with you the why’s & how’s this is happening.

You probably know I’ve suffered from extreme chronic pain for the last 5+ years. I’m gonna skip to this past winter (I’ll go back further in future posts).

This past winter I was depressed. Like, in the darkest dark, pain & sadness & pointlessness permeating every cell of my being, depressed. I’ve struggled with depression my whole life. I’ve had the thoughts, “I wish I would just die” . . . “I wish I wouldn’t wake up” . . . “I wish this illness would just fucking kill me already” . . . “I don’t want to be here anymore” . . . “I am a burden on my family” . . . “Their lives would be better if I weren’t here” . . .

These thoughts weren’t strangers. They weren’t new. But they had always been just that, thoughts.

At doctors visits, when I came to the box that said “suicidal thoughts”, I always paused, and thought what might happen if I checked yes . . . and because I was afraid of the men in the white coats coming out to grab me & lock me away, I never checked the box.

At one point, this winter, they stopped being just thoughts. I started formulating a plan. I was very considerate of others. My plan made sure that my beloveds wouldn’t find me and that they would have a note, to make sure that it wasn’t their fault. I made a plan. I didn’t necessarily have a “plan” to go through with the “plan” . . . but, I had a plan.

I had an appointment with my neurologist. I was smelling things that weren’t there. (All of a sudden, it would smell like someone was holding an open bottle of fingernail polish under my nose . . . but there was no fingernail polish). I had numbness & tingling in my arms & feet. I was having memory problems. He did testing & couldn’t figure out why any of this was happening.

He referred me to a neuropsychologist. We thought I had early dementia or Alzheimers.

So, my first meeting with the neuropsychologist, we just talked. Super chill. He wanted to get to know me.

At the end of our visit, he said, “You’re a walking Fight or Flight response.” and then scheduled the big tests.

When I came back, it was hours of testing. All kinds of tests. . . I was convinced I was going crazy, that my brain was deteriorating.

Soooo . . . then the follow-up appointment, where he spoke to my husband & I about the results.

NO signs of early dementia.

NO signs of Alzheimers.

NO brain damage.

YAY! WooooHOOO!!!!

Then, what comes next . . .

SEVERE Depression (above 100%, off the charts)

EXTREME Anxiety (above 100%, off the charts)

and

Complex PTSD (above 100%, off the charts)

weeeeeellllllll now, what do we do with that?!?

He explained that it is NOT psychological. It is NEUROLOGICAL.

He recommended I find an EMDR certified therapist & get to work, right away.

He also said that, “This IS fixable. You WILL get your life back.”

And so, my journey began.

I have learned ALOT about PTSD & the nervous system. . . and I’ll share more later.

But let me just give you this little nugget, PTSD, if not treated, WILL MAKE YOU PHYSICALLY SICK.

They call it “somatic symptoms”. Somatic means body. And it goes something like this . . . your brain sees this trauma & is like, “Oh HELL NO! She can’t handle that! She doesn’t have the capacity to deal with that! Let’s make a grand distraction!” . . . Enter, chronic illness.

So I‘ve been doing ALOT of work on this for the past several months. ALOT. It’s been super hard, but it’s also been awesome. I am starting to SEE & FEEL a difference, and my friends, let me tell you . . . it is fucking GLORIOUS!

That photo at the top, is little me.

Yesterday I invited her into my studio to play.

She sang & hummed,

tore papers,

got paint on her hands,

wild & free,

making magic,

with stars in her eyes and sunshine beaming out of her little face.

She made MAGIC . . . for me.

She made magic for YOU.

Here’s what she wanted us to know,

“Yes, you’ve got scars.

But you know what?

Scars are stronger than regular skin.

You are NOT damaged.

You’re fucking RESILIENT.

Yes, you’ve been through hell.

Yes, you deserve to be tired.

Cry.

Drink whiskey.

Take your vitamins.

Rest.

and then,

GET BACK UP.

Don’t you dare fucking quit.

Wear yours scars

like a goddamn magic cape,

. . . because You,

my Love,

are a fucking Superhero.

You can do this.

You ARE doing it.

xo, Erica Kathleen” (little me)

She’s pretty smart ;)

I’m excited, you guys.

For the first time in a reeeaaally long time, I can FEEL the HOPE & POSSIBILITY.

My heart feels it. My body feels it.

I believe in ME.

I believe in YOU,

so don’t you fucking dare give up.

WE can do this.

Sooooo much tender, soft LOVE,

xo, EK

ps. If you need a bold & beautiful reminder that YOU are a fucking Superhero, there are a few available HERE.

holy gratitude - day one. by Erica Kathleen

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It’s pretty obvious that I’ve been struggling. It’s no secret that I’m having a difficult time dealing with my health and chronic pain. Honestly, I’ve been in a very very dark place for quite a while. And it’s funny, but most of the time, when I’m in the dark place, I can’t tell how dark it is, until I start to come out of it.

This last dark spell, was paralyzingly, debilitatingly, dark. There was no color, there was no hope. There was no joy, no life… just nothingness, steeped in pain.

To be really, brutally honest, I had given up.


The fog started to lift, maybe two weeks ago. But then two days ago, something huge shifted inside of me.


I realized what a hold of the darkness had over me and I realized that I was squeezing it back, even tighter.

I was clenching onto it so tightly that I couldn’t see straight. I had allowed it to swallow me whole & I was feeding it, secretly, in the quiet darkness.

When I saw my doctor last week, I asked her for a referral to a therapist. I told her that I needed help.

I got the referral and they called me to make the appointment, and then told me that they were booked out until April. At first, I was like, “well that’s a lot of fucking help, isn’t it?!”

And then I decided to do something about it. I found an app, which sounds funny, but I’ve been listening to it and learning and doing the exercises for the past two days and I have felt such a huge, huge, beautiful shift happening inside of me.

Not that my physical being is any different, but my attitude, it’s completely new.

If I can have any control over my mental attitude, I’m going to fucking do it. I am going to do everything I possibly can to make myself feel better.

I don’t want to give up anymore.

I don’t want to give in.

I’m done waving the white flag.

I get that there are a lot of things that are out of my control. But if I can make just a tiny difference, if I can shine a little glimmer of light and bring a little bit more happiness and joy into my life, I’m going to fucking do it.

So, this marks day one of a new practice.

This is day one of Holy Gratitude.

And today, this day, I am grateful for new beginnings.

I am grateful for the opportunity to Begin, Again.

I am grateful for my Courageous Heart.

It’s funny. When I started this painting, for me, it was about being courageous… in that, you know, I’m going through a lot of shit & it’s terrible, but I’m still here, even if it’s laying in bed, in pain, crying …

and NOW. Now that it’s done, it means something quite different to me.

NOW, honoring my Courageous Heart, means, NOT giving in,

NOT letting myself be swallowed up in the darkness,

NOT giving the pain the power over every fucking part of my life.

Today, this “Altar of the Courageous Heart” symbolizes the strength it takes, to pull yourself out of the darkness.

It is a beautiful reminder, to me, that it takes immense COURAGE, to stand back up, dust yourself off, dig deep inside & LOVE yourself enough to create a new beginning.

So, my friends, here’s to new beginnings & Courageous Hearts.

So much LOVE,

xo, EK

PS. There are only 2 "Altar of the Courageous Heart" left! Available HERE.





do it for your wild heart. please. xo, EK by Erica Kathleen

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over the past few months, my perspective, my mindset has shifted, in a huge, earthquake-shake-like way.

before The Resurrection of Wild Heart (here, if you didn't read it) . . . 

before I found hope & happiness  . . . 

I felt like a zombie & a ghost in my own life.

here, but not here. you know?

I was completely consumed by my physical pain & to be honest, I was waiting to die.

being here. being "alive" in this body . . .

sure, technically, I was "alive" . . . but I felt like I was already dead.

and I was done.

(If you're new here & wondering what the pain & sickness is all about, you can read THIS, and THIS to get a glimpse of what's up)

Anyhooo . . .

since I started going out & seeking adventure & feeling this HUGE shift . . . it's got me wondering why it is, that people, myself included . . . put off happiness?

I feel like, in some fucked up way, we get "comfortable" in our shitty situations. 

We get used to them & we grow to believe that "this is just how it is."

Why do we create so many reasons (excuses) for why we can’t do what we love?

Each trip I take, each forest I sleep in . . . those excuses seem more & more ridiculous.

I’m that friend who will always tell you the no-bullshit, honest truth . . . even and especially when you don’t want to hear it.

And so, while sitting in a forest, on the banks of a river, in northern Utah . . .

surrounded by fields of wild flowers, 

I painted and wrote these words for you, and for me.

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"Find what makes you happy, what makes you come alive.

Once you find it,

do whatever it takes,

to make it happen,

on the regular.

whatever it fucking takes.

do it.

quit with the excuses and fucking do it.

Sell your house.

Get a divorce.

Move across the country.

Quit your job.

Whatever is keeping you from it . . .  

squash it.

Like a nasty, poisonous black bug.

Splat. 

to the fucking ground.

This is your shot.

This is YOUR life.

There are no do overs and no second chances.

This.

You.

NOW.

please, do it."

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Whatever it is.

I don’t care.

it doesn’t matter.

you know what I’m talking about.

the thing that puts the spark in your eyes and lights a fire in your belly.

That.

do that.

do it now.

Do it often.

Do it as if your life fucking depends on it.

Because, my friend, it does.

It’s that thing you’ve put on hold or put off.

"I don’t have the money."

"It would upset the family."

"It would be irresponsible."

"I have to think of others first."

"I’m too sick."

"I’m too old."

"I don’t have the time." 

"It would be selfish."

"I have too many other responsibilities."

"I have to wait till the kids are older."

Listen, sister.

Listen to me right now.

Hear me.

Hear my heart.

Right now.

Me and you.

Heart to heart.

Your hand in mine.

Don’t look away.

Don’t tell me you’re OK.

Don’t tell me you’ll be fine.

There is a line.

There is a line between you and happiness.

Nobody else has put it there.

All you.

I know you don’t want to hear it.

I know you want to tell me to fuck off.

Go ahead.

I’m still here.

right here, with you.

I’m here, holding your hand and looking in your eyes and telling you . . .

Sweet, sweet woman. . .

You drew that line.

You put up the road blocks and excuses.

I know that there are REAL things standing in your way.

There are.

I KNOW THAT.

I do.

I have them too.

But you,

you who said “not now" . . . “I can’t" . . .  

YOU can figure this shit out.

you CAN.

I promise.

You can find a way to make it work.

You can.

You will.

I believe in you.

You got this.

Your wild heart is waiting.

Take the steps.

Do the hard work.

Make the space for your wild heart to come alive.

dance with it . . .

sing with it . . . 

take it camping . . .

make love to it.

You.

Your wild heart.

Priority #1. 

now.

I love you.

SO. FUCKING. MUCH.

xo, EK

ps. "wild heart" & "do it" (the art pictured above) are in the shop NOW, here. (open June 5th 12:30 MST & closing June 8th 12:30 MST).  If you're a member, I just emailed you the password ;) If you're not yet a member, get on that shit! It's FREE! do it HERE & then email me at erica@ericakathleen.com & I'll send you the password. 

Supertramp Story no. 1 - The Resurrection of Wild Heart by Erica Kathleen

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Hold on y’all shits about to get real good up in here. 

Wait for it. 

wait for it . . .

Lately, I’ve been having a really, reeeaaally, rough go of things, mentally and physically. It’s been one doctors appointment after another. When I look on the calendar I only know what day it is because of what doctors appointment is next. Nothing else exciting to look forward to. . . . 

I have a specialist appointment and tests scheduled for the next week. 

Could be huge. Could be nothing. My mind tends to run on the side of the worst possible scenario.

I remember thinking "what if this is it? what if this is the big thing?"

I remember looking at my husband and saying "what if this test comes back and it’s not good news? what if the doctor tells me that I have six months to live? I can sure as shit tell you that if I have six months to live I don’t want to be doing what I’m fucking doing. As it is, I have so little energy, that what I do have, I don’t want to spend it on the computer doing business stuff."

and then after a moment, I looked at him and said  . . . "You know what? Actually, even if the tests come back ok, I have such a small amount of time in a day that I feel ok, I don’t want to do it anymore. I just don’t. I feel so completely empty & depleted. I only have so much. My energy is GOLD.  I want to tend to it & nurture it & only spend it on the most amazing of things, that fill me up."

And that’s when I decided to close my shop and only open it for a few days every couple of months.

That's when I told the handful of people who've been patiently waiting for me to finish their portraits, that I wasn't going to.

That's when I decided that doing things that FILL ME UP is now my number one priority.

That's when I made me, my number one priority.

~deep breath~

a huge sigh of relief. I felt like a HUGE weight had been lifted from me, and then, THIS painting came out. It came out of the space that I created & it felt soooo good. 

 . . . a few days later .  . .

I had been in bed for four days in a row, not in super amounts of pain, but just so exhausted, so empty, no energy to do anything. All I was doing was laying in bed. Then I got the idea to watch "Into the Wild", which I have seen before and I LOOOOOVE, and I had just been thinking about it and wanted to watch it.

~spark~

The part when he burns his Social Security card and cuts up his drivers license and gives all the money to charity and just takes off to go LIVE. . .  . .  aaaaaahhhhhhhh . . . I have this huge smile on my face and my heart so full of joy and hope and then moments later . . . I feel tears streaming down my face and I realized  . . . I want SOOOO badly to do that. . . too drop off the grid, to be anonymous, to go have fucking grand adventures  . . . and the tears . . .  were because  . . .              I couldn’t.

I’ve always wanted to do something like that and now I can’t. 

Dear sweet sweet husband sees me breaking down and asks what’s wrong. I tell him I want to do something like that. I want to go LIVE & have GRAND adventures, but I can’t. 

He looks at me "why not?!" . . . 

me, "Come on! Kids, responsibilities, SICK, feel like shit, can’t move. Look at me! There's no way I could do that."

He’s like "Yeah you can do it! DO IT!!!" . . .

ok. maybe I can?

Then I start spinning and the adventure planning begins. First it was just going somewhere for the weekend. Maybe an AirB&B, because really how much can I do? I can't sleep outside. My body couldn't handle it. How far can I go? I have lots of big limitations physically. Then I start thinking, maybe a cabin for three or four days? 

Then the next day sweet husband comes home and I’m in tears.

Dreams crushed.  

"I can’t go."

"Why not?!" After I had been laying in bed all day, in pain and exhausted "Look at me! I can’t go like this. I can't do it LIKE THIS!! I can’t. I CAN'T!!!"  

and then, said sweetheart, reminds me of my "in-betweens" painting. My "in-betweens" story. Our "in-betweens" honeymoon, the best two weeks of my life and I was sick almost the whole time. I couldn’t do much, but it was the most wonderful two weeks of my life. He’s so smart. 

And then the wheels began to spin again.

Madly.

Wildy.

Feverishly.

I CAN DO IT! I can go on a trip. I can do stuff. and if I feel bad or I’m tired, I can lay down wherever I am. I can rest. I can lay down and be in pain, in this body, somewhere beautiful. I CAN. 

like the Little Engine That Could.

I think I can

I think I can

I think I can

So as the days went by, my obsession changed from doctors appointments and medical tests & googling medical shit, to how I would turn the Subaru into a camper. 

I ordered a camp stove.

I sewed curtains for the Subaru.

I ordered comfy, warm, blue-gray long johns.

I packed my camp chair & my art supplies.

I packed my favorite stout & a fresh bottle of sunblock.

and guess what?

I DID IT!!!

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6 days.

alone.

in the woods. 

into the wild ;)

let me tell you friends, those empty wells, were filled back up to overflowing.

and I, now have a new favorite thing,

going solo, into the wild.

I'm was planning my next one a few days after I got home.

That painting up at the top . . . not finished, and, I think maybe I'll make a fun rule for myself that I can only work on it when I'm in the wild.

speaking of that, the sun is shining & my hearts needs to go.

I love you, my wild hearts.

See you after my next grand adventure. 

xo, EK

ps. the shop is open HERE till monday afternoon. As soon as I hit post here, I'll be emailing you the password. Big LOVES. 

pps. If you want to be sure not to miss my writings and access to my shop, be sure to put your deets in HERE.

Sacred Mercy. by Erica Kathleen

So I started this painting the morning I learned that a friend, a supernova-sized, bright, shining star, had died. I had unplugged from social media for months and had no idea. Scrolling through her Instagram feed backwards, catching up, as I got closer I could feel it. Then when I got to that post “oh NO you fucking didn’t! “came out of my mouth.

Then, immediately and in the same moment, I was both jealous and filled with peace.

Then I began unstoppable bawling, hyperventilating,  got in my car and drove through the mountains. I drove and cried and drove and cried and questioned everything. Every. Fucking. Thing.

The next morning. Without thought or words I picked up my brush and began painting. As angry as I was. As heartbroken as I was. The pain. The sadness. The questioning of everything I thought I knew and believed in. . . I painted.  

I painted her free from pain. I painted her with ribs made of feathers, a fern frond for a backbone, and a crown of stars.

Free.

Unchained from the earth and all its human-ness. 

What I was jealous of, what I envied, wasn’t the actual death or the dying. What my heart ached for, was peace.

No more pain.

No more tests.

No more sickness.

Peace.

The painting sat for months and months and months, as I was going through my own shit. Drowning in my humanness. Gasping with this earthly body, wishing to breathe the same air that surrounds the stars and breezes around the moon.

The painting shifted.

Here. On this earth. In this body. This painting is my prayer for Sacred Mercy.

You see, I’ve been searching for something. Some big reason, some validation for what is happening to my body.

I feel like I’m in medical school . . .  all the scholarly articles and abstracts I’ve read, searching for the magic answer.

I found it, without a drum roll or a big whoop Dee Doo, and it's certainly not magic.

 It’s both very simple and mind blowingly complex. The simple answer is I have hereditary hemachromatosis, a genetic blood disorder. Then it just gets all sorts of fucked up from there. When I was diagnosed 28 months ago I read all about it. I devoured everything I could get my hands on, and my brain (which has excellent coping skills), boiled it down to this

“Untreated, it will kill you. Caught early and treated, you will recover and live a normal healthy life."

I glazed over the “caught early “part. Now.  28 months later, my blood levels are now “normal"  . . . yet, I’m far from “ living a normal healthy life".

I’ve had on my med student outfit for so fucking long. Make sense, right? If all my levels are "normal", but I’m still this sick, there must be something else fucking wrong with me.

And there is. Plenty.

I have a whole slew of specialists helping me take inventory of all my broken parts. My primary care doctor, gynecologist, gastroenterologist, oncologist, physical medicine doctor, physical therapist, neurologist, urologist, and my rheumatologist.

I’ve had so many blood tests, CAT scans, MRIs, and an EEG. I’ve averaged two doctor appointments and or scans,  a week,  in the last month.

I’ve gone back, with new eyes and been researching hemachromatosis and what I’m finding breaks my heart and takes me right back to the key point., that I so optimistically glazed over, 28 months ago “if it’s caught early".

At this point, with all these doctors and tests and all the things in my body that are completely fucked up, here’s where I’m at. Simple and fucking complex. My blood disease was not caught early.

I’ve done the treatment and my levels are now normal.  4 & 1/2 gallons of blood have been drained out of this body. And I will have to continue treatment for the rest of my life. That’s the simple part of this equation.

The complex and fucked up part is that because it wasn’t caught early, the damage was already done, even before I was diagnosed.

The damage to my body is done and can’t be undone. 

Part of me wants to keep researching & reading & figuring out exactly what the broken pieces are & the medical processes of how they got broken.

But I'm tired. I am so. fucking. tired.

Another part of me, the part that created this painting, is exhausted from the research & the testing & the scanning & the medical literature & the doctors appointments . . .

That part of me, aches for it to stop.

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"I know you're tired of fighting.

Your bones are worn from endless battle. 

Loosen your grip on that burdensome sword, my love.

Unclench your fists.

Rest your weary bones.

It is time for mercy & peace,

you beautiful soul."

I've been searching, so hard, for "the answer". And what I'm slowly starting to realize, & having a bit of a hard time accepting, is that, there is no "answer." No magic bullet. No way to "fix it." 

So, for now, I try, with deep, deep breaths, to rest & allow myself Sacred Mercy.

From the bottom of my heart, I want to whisper ~thank you~ for your love & support. I often feel so very alone, but your words & encouragement mean the world to me & help me feel a little less alone & a wee bit more human.

Thank you.

I love you. 

xoxo, E.K. 

If your heart is also aching for this, there are a few signed "Sacred Mercy" on wood canvases HERE. Art cards & prints are HERE. 

you. by Erica Kathleen

If you're like me . . . and I'm gonna guess that you are ;) You most likely have a list, or several, scattered throughout your home, maybe as a note on your phone . . . or maybe you text yourself? I do.

Lists. Things I "NEED TO DO". So daunting. So overwhelming. So joy-sucking. So grown-up. So much vomit. I know, I know. We need to be adults. I know, life isn't all about having fun. 

Buuuuutttt, my friends, life is NOT all about the shit on these lists.

It feels like, when we have all this serious, grown up, adult shit that needs to get done, we, consciously or unconsciously, put ourselves LAST on that big shit list.

And let's be honest. That list is never going to be done. It's never going to go away. As soon as we cross something off, there's 3 more to add . . . you feelin' me? 

Soooo . . . if the list never ends . . . and WE are on the bottom of said list . . . when WILL there be time for us? For the hot bath? the weekend away? that dinner date we keep putting off? reading that book? getting that massage?  . . . . . you follow?

Here's a real quick trick, for getting your priorities straight.

Remember when you were little. when you were full of light & hope & possibilities & you had big beautiful dreams & so much your HEART wanted to do . . .

Imagine that YOU, standing in front of this you, crying. heartbroken. crushed.

ask her what's wrong.

Looking up at you, with tears streaming down her cheeks, she pulls out your list, from behind her back & hands it to you.

My friend, that Little YOU, still lives inside of Big YOU.

She still has that light & hope & all those beautiful dreams. But how could she POSSIBLY ever get to them with all the shit on your grown up list? 

She CAN'T. YOU. CAN'T.

and as much as I'd like to tell you to burn the list, alas, we do still need to be adults. sometimes.

I'm not asking you to burn the list. I AM asking you, begging you, please, please, please, MOVE YOURSELF from the bottom, to the top.

You would do it for that little girl. You would help her find the time. You would tell her that she's important & that her dreams matter. 

Do it now.

Do it for Her.

Do it for YOU.

HOLY.

SACRED.

BELOVED.

YOU.

XOXOXOXOXO,

E.K.

ps. "YOU" is in the shop HERE. If you ordered a  "DO EPIC SHIT" MakeUp bag (3 left), or you order a "FUCK THIS SHIT" MakeUp bag (yes, I decided to do that one too ;) , you will be getting a signed "YOU" print with your order, because I love YOU. 

 

the in-betweens by Erica Kathleen

 

I haven't spilled my guts for a long time. Deep breath. Here goes . . .

I started this painting years ago. It's a self-portrait, back in the day when I had long, rainbow colored dreads, when I was a single mom, did yoga daily & before I got sick. It sat in the back of my closet, unfinished, for years. I took it out one day last summer, put it up on my easel, opened up a bucket of gesso, dipped a giant brush into it, and brought the brush up towards my face, with the intention of painting over it, erasing it. Then I just stood there. Still. Breathing.

I dropped my paint-filled brush into a jar of water, put the lid back on the bucket of gesso, sat down & just breathed what was in front of me. Something inside me said, "It's time to finish this. The world needs this." I don't know if the 'world' really needs it, but I now realize that I really needed it.

Almost always, when I paint, I have no idea what I'm doing. I have a feeling, but I almost never have a 'plan'. I just feel, and I paint. It's therapy. It's how I work my shit out. It's how I express myself. It's how I move feelings through my body.

So here I am. Years later. Everything has changed. Hair chopped off. Married to the most kind & amazing human being I have ever met. Yoga is a stranger, and my health is a rollercoaster.

I was really sick for over a year, before I got diagnosed. Exhausted. Muscle pain. Aching bones. Tender stomach. In the worst moments, in bed, tears flowing, & the only way I could describe, with words, to my beloved, what was going on . . .'it feels like every fucking cell in my body is poisoned & slowly dying.'

After a super frustrating & painful year or so, I got a diagnosis. Hemochromatosis. It's is a genetic blood disorder. It causes me to absorb crazy amounts of iron. Who knew too much of a good thing could be fatal? Iron builds up in your body over time. You don't pee it out, like so many other vitamins. It builds & builds, continually. When your blood is saturated with it, iron starts being stored in your organs; liver, heart, brain, bone marrow . . . which can then cause liver cancer, heart failure, alzheimer's, & a ton more.

So that feeling I had, of "every fucking cell in my body is poisoned & slowly dying", was pretty accurate. My own blood was poisoning me.

The thing we watch & monitor, isn't actually iron, it's Ferritin, a protein in the body that binds to iron. Normal levels are 18-160. My ferritin was 1,918. They also look at your "saturation level" . . . to see how saturated your blood is with ferritin. Mine was 142%. I don't even know how that is possible, but apparently it is. 

I've been in treatment for about 16 months now. Treatment is . . . having 500mL of blood taken from my body every 2 weeks. The only way to get rid of the ferritin, is to get rid of the blood that is full of it. Bloodletting. Treatment will be forever, but will get further apart, once I'm at a good level. 

So there's that. That catches you up to now. 

It would be cool if I could say, HOORAY! I'm done! All better! But, no. They say that if you catch it before your ferritin gets to 1,000, you can 'probably' reverse the organ & tissue damage. Remember, my ferritin started at 1,918.

I have liver pain. I have kidney pain. I smell acetone 24/7, when there is none. I have bone pain. I have muscle fatigue. I have little to no appetite. Walking up the stairs feels like a marathon. My doc ordered CT scans so we can start to see where my organs are at, if they are still full of iron, if there's damage . . . what's causing the pain. My insurance wouldn't approve the scans, so I'm trying to figure that out, and the one thing that eases my pain is an herb that my state deems illegal & docs can't prescribe, BUT! I can get the CBD oil, legally online ;)  HOORAY! A round of applause for Mother Nature!

I may never go back to how I was before. I may never feel the way I felt before. I may never be able to do the things I used to. . . but the one thing I have taken from this whole thing, and it took me a while to get . . . in the moments, (no matter how short, few & far between), in the moments where my pain is less . . . in the moments when I have a burst of energy . . . those moments are fucking GOLD. 

Those moments are magic and filled with light & music & color & LOVE.

I grab those moments by the hand and pull them into the kitchen to make from-scratch sourdough english muffins for my beloveds.

I yank those moments up from the couch, in the no-bra pajamas they've been living in for days, pour them a shot of whiskey, nudge them to pull the guitar off the wall, & sing Rick Springfield at the top of my lungs with them, until I am dripping sweat & out of breath.  . . or I slap a wig on them & play Kenny Loggins & Stevie Nicks with my beloved, complete with a concert for the kids ;)

I grab those moments by the shoulders, look into their eyes, smack them on the back, encouraging lungs to fill up with air, strip all of their clothes off & taking a running leap into an ice cold lake. (true story. This was taken on our honeymoon, where I was sick, in bed, 12 out of 14 days. THIS was one of those golden moments & I screamed "I'M ALIVE!" at the top of my lungs, as I jumped off)

Those are the moments that keep me here. These are the in-betweens. The moments of life, scattered randomly, amongst the pain & the darkness & the not knowing.

This painting IS those moments. This painting is the light in the dark. This painting is the singing between the tears. It is the delicious food between the nausea. It is freedom of nakedness between the days of pajamas. It is the rainbow of color that screams from the blackness. 

It's not about being upset because of how things are or wishing they were different. It's about acceptance. It's about breathing. It's about celebrating the magic moments, wherever you can find them.

This is what I hold on to. The in-betweens. The breaths.

I offer this to you . . . my art . . . which is my heart.

"The In-Betweens", is HERE. Part of the proceeds from this painting will go towards my health & medical costs. (stuff insurance won't pay for & herbal medicines ;) If you want to help, but don't want or need art, you can do that HERE. Thank you!! 

In sharing this with you, I truly hope that you too, can slow down, breathe deeply, and find the exquisite, mouth-watering beauty of your in-betweens. Soak UP, as slowly as you can, every delicious second of your in-betweens. Let them melt in your mouth. 

So much Love & appreciation for you,

XO, E

what's your story? 5 really fucking hard questions to ask yourself, now. by Erica Kathleen

"From every wound there is a scar, and every scar tells a story."

This is the first sentence of my tattoo. 

Our stories are how we tell other people who we are, and also, how we see ourselves.

At the time in my life when this idea hit me the me the hardest, (and also in the most amazing way), I was pretty fresh out of a divorce, about 7 years ago.

It was so raw & so fresh & so fucking horrific. It had consumed me for years. I told my story to be seen & to be heard. I told my story to get sympathy. I told my story to hear, "Oh my GOD! You poor thing! How terrible!" I told my story, so that others would know how badly I was hurt.

The Cliff Notes version of my story went something like this, "He did this to me. He did that to me. Poor me. Can you believe all this crazy fucking shit I've been through? He was so terrible. He was a fucking monster. Poor me. I didn't deserve it" . . . 

I told that fucking story to anyone & everyone who would sit next to me long enough to hear it. 

Stories need feeding. Stories need re-telling to keep their power, and I was reeeaaally good at feeding mine.

Sure, it was true. Sure, those things happened. But, WTF?! How many times did it need to be told? 

One day, telling my story yet again, or another chapter of it, or what-the-fuck-ever . . . it was almost like I was outside of my body . . . it was like I was a witness to the story, instead of the person telling it. And, HOLY SHIT! I did not like hearing it.

Our "stories" are crazy powerful things, beings, entities even. 

All of the sudden, I wanted that story to fuck the fuck off! I didn't want to tell or hear that story again. I didn't want sympathy, and my biggest insight . . . 

I didn't want t be the fucking victim for one more day.

Then I started asking myself some really difficult questions.

If I am not THAT person. Who the fuck am I?

and for one split second, I WAS TERRIFIED. 

Because I had been with this man for 17 years, this is what I knew. This is what was familiar. This is who I was. (or so I thought). 

and then, I was washed over, with the biggest rush of hope & POSSIBILITY . . .

If I was CHOOSING to no longer be this person . . . I could also CHOOSE to be whoever the fuck I wanted! Are you kidding me?! How awesome is THAT?!!

But I'll tell ya, when I deliberately & consciously CHOSE to stop defining myself by my past . . . HOLY SHIT . . . a whole new world opened up. A world that I could not have seen, if I'd stayed in the "broken victim" mentality. 

Shit happens. It just fucking does. Bad shit happens all the fucking time. WE get to choose though, how much of our power we hand over to it, how much we allow ourselves to be defined by it. 

That day, I CHOSE to stop re-living, re-telling, & giving my energy to the old chapters,  . . . to turn the page, and to begin writing the words in my next chapter. 

That was a pretty fucking cool day ;)

So, here are those 3 questions I was telling you about.

Needless to say, if you wanna get anywhere with these questions . . . it'd be a good idea to get still, get quiet, & get really fucking honest with yourself. 

Ask yourself now,

1. What's my current "story"?

2. Is my story a happy one, or is it a story full of excuses of why I can't be happy?

3. Do I hear myself blaming my circumstances on other people?

4. How do I FEEL when I hear myself telling my "story" to someone?

 the last, and probably the hardest question . . .

5. Is it time to write a new story? & am I brave enough to do it?

Leave a comment & tell me what your "story" is . . . & if you're ready to write a new one.

If you need a beautiful reminder, that's why I created the painting above, "New Roots 1". Get it? New ROOTS ;) A little secret about me . . . I see/feel in metaphors . . . & in this particular one, the old roots, of the old life, were rotton & fucked up, and full of poison . . . so, I yanked that fucker out of the ground, roots & all . . . and decided to plant a whole new one . . . hence, "New Roots". Clever, ya? I thought so. Hahahahahaa ;) Art available HERE. 

If you related to my story, or you think it may help someone else you out, please forward it to a friend, share on facebook, or spread the love, however you spread best.

XO, Erica

ps. if you'd like to be on my mailing list & have me give you a little "tap!tap!" when I write a new story, create a new painting, have special offers, or just have something cool to share, you can do it, HERE. 

 

 

 

cocoons and snake skin. by Erica Kathleen

like a snake shedding my old skin faster than I can regrow new skin.

raw, tender, bleeding, where the crusty, dead, old skin is peeling away from the fresh, new, under skin . . . almost unbearable.  the pain of the old skin is so fucking uncomfortable & I cant scratch it off fast enough.

this most recent shedding, as most of you know, has been wildly propelled by one, little book. (here).

boxes. clothes. books. art supplies. full photo albums. dishes. notes. art.

donated or in the garbage.

everywhere I look, everything I see . . . constantly asking myself, "Does this bring my heart JOY?"

and soooooo many times, almost EVERY SINGLE TIME, the answer is NO.

Facebook. Noise, polluting my senses, like billboard after blaring billboard, screaming for my attention. 

I deactivated my facebook account, again. 

 

Peace has taken the place of chaos and this time, I honestly don't see myself going back.

I have become a HUGE fan of peace, especially after working so fucking hard to get it. 

then there was email. over 10,500 in my inbox. 750 not read.

I sat in a blur, in a daze, unstoppable. email after email after email. I didn't move from my stool for 2 hours, until I was down to ONE. FUCKING. EMAIL. (from my husband ;) I unsubscribed from every fucking newsletter, except one, one that adds VALUE to my life. 

skin stopped scratching. breath came easier.

it's the weirdest fucking thing. I've become obsessed. I can't stop. 

It's like the more I let go of, the more clearly I can see what really matters.

I used to think these things were part of me, in some way defining me. . . but now, when I look at this shit, I'm sure I don't know the person who used to own them. She's no longer here. 

It always seems to happen that, the painting I am working on, somehow, in some way, is a mirror for what's going on in my life. 

This one, that I've been working on for the past several months, is no different. Layer after layer. I think I'm done, then realize I'm not. Each layer, facing the past, the darkness, fully . . . then, and only then, allowing the truth & the light to become more present.

It's good stuff. REALLY good stuff.

How about you? Do you have a lot of "stuff". Do you LOVE your stuff? Are you sick of your stuff? It's a weird & awesome & frustrating journey. So many times I've been soooo fucking sick of it I just wanna light a match & walk away. But then, I wouldn't be facing it. I find there is HUGE power in the toe to toe-ness of facing it. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts & please feel free to share, especially since I have packed up & moved out of social media land ;) hahahaaaa 

I am on instagram, though. to me, it feels, less like a high traffic, billboard crowded, highway & more like a peaceful walk down a country road with a friend. You can find me HERE. 

XOXOXO

Erica

ps. One cool box I found was a bunch of small prints, there are now on clearance for $2.50 a pop, over HERE. Check 'em out before I light that match ;)

pps. and you can bet I've been wearing my "Do No Harm but Take No Shit" tee, just about every day. You can grab one HERE. If you're into that kinda thing ;)

ppps. If you wanna be sure to stay in the loop . . . new blog posts, new art, special sales, sign up HERE.

peace out, bitches. xo

 

 

my life is Sacred, NOW. by Erica Kathleen

this is a lesson that's taken me a long time to get, but when I got it? KABLAM!!! I got it, loud & crystal clear.

I have spent so much of my life . . . making lists, of things to do, of things to change, of things that will make me a 'better person'.

Things like . . .

health shit . . . IF I can just do yoga for an hour every day, eat clean, take all my supplements, do my detox work,  . . . THEN I will be so much healthier, and, therefore, happier.

food shit . . . IF I could just cook healthy meals every night, if I made homemade bread for my family, if I could follow a strict meal plan, . . . THEN I will be healthier, more in control, and, therefore, happier.

business plans . . . IF I could just get this computer work done, get this post updated, send out my newsletter, get prints delivered, get that painting done,  . . . THEN I will be successful, make more money, and , therefore, be happier.

cleaning house . . . IF I could just get the fridge cleaned out, go through my clothes, get caught up on laundry, sort through my jars, go through the pile of mail, dust the bookshelves, . . . THEN my house would be in order, I would feel more peace . . .  & therefore, be happier.

personal shit . . . IF this person would just say they were sorry, IF this person could just support me, if this person would just (fill in the blank), IF I could just let go of (fill in the blank), IF I could learn (fill in the blank) . . . .THEN I would truly deserve love & be loved,  . . . and therefore, be happy.

And, no matter how hard I try, I could never seem to get it all done, so, you see, according to the rules I set out for myself, I could never allow myself to be happy. 

My recent health shit has played a huge role in me getting this lesson, but even before I got super sick, I had made a "to do" list for the day . . . running around the house, freaking out, trying to get it all done . . . and my amazing husband tried to get my attention for something, I barely stopped spinning for a minute long enough to say, "I can't! I don't have time! I have so much to do!" . . . He reached for my hand, slowing my spin, looked into my eyes and calmly said, "What? What do you HAVE to do right now?" . . . I balked. Swiped my list off the fridge &  put it in his hand. He looked over every word, the whole list, and then looked up at me . . . "Sweetie, this list is crazy. This should be your list for the next month, not one day. There is NO WAY you can get all this done today. NOBODY COULD." . . .

I looked at him, tears in my eyes, "Really?"

That was almost 2 years ago.  It took me getting so sick, that I couldn't get out of bed for days at a time. I would still make my "to do" lists & I would still try to do them . . . wincing in pain, tears in my eyes . . . he would come to me & say, "sweetie, you don't need to be doing this right now. You need to rest." . . . I always have a good comeback. "It needs to be done. If I don't do it, it won't get done. I am the only one who can do it." . . . After MANY of these episodes, and so many days and months of pain & struggle . . . I gave in. I started letting shit go.

I then put the BIGGEST limit on my happiness.

IF I can get healthy again, THEN I can enjoy my life and be happy.

Day after day, so much pain. Day after day, remembering what I "used to be able to do." Day after day, trying to carry on, like I did before I got sick. Day after day, thinking about how my body can barely move now & how I USED to be so flexible move so easily. Day after day, missing out on life. Skipping out on a concert I had waited months for, but we gave the tickets away at the last minute, because I couldn't stand up that day. Missing out on family gatherings, because even sitting in a chair was too painful. Day after day, putting off my happiness, until my health was restored.

Our honeymoon, the most amazing 2 & 1/2 weeks of my life. I was sick, every day but 2. One day he got super upset, "It's SO UNFAIR! This is supposed to be an amazing trip, and you're feeling like this. IT'S NOT FAIR! I want you to feel good & enjoy this! It's our HONEYMOON!" . . . That's when it hit me on a deeper level. I looked at him, "Yes, my body hurts. Yes, I physically feel like shit, BUT, I am having the most wonderful time, in this beautiful place, here with YOU. I am SO HAPPY & I wouldn't be anywhere else. This is perfect." 

I think that might be a slight glimpse of acceptance. True, I couldn't go for a hike. True, sometimes we ordered in, because I couldn't go out, but my heart was SO FULL, and SO HAPPY, and SO GRATEFUL for this man who has rocked my world and shared a love with me I never knew was possible. EVERY moment with him is magic and SACRED.

I think that might have been the moment when the lightbulb went off in my head.

IF I could feel good, THEN I could enjoy it?

In the midst of all the testing I had done, I got results from an abdominal ultrasound, that basically said I had liver cancer. I also had an MRI done the same day & was anxiously awaiting those results. When I called into the clinic & they told me the MRI guy was out of the office & wouldn't be in for 3 days, I began to lose my mind. I told the lady on the phone, "I know I shouldn't google, but I did, and as of this moment I have liver cancer & I'm dying." Obviously, I majorly freaked out & so she had the tech who did my ultrasound call me. "I am looking at your MRI, and I am not seeing what I saw on the ultrasound. I did see it, and that's why I put it in the report, but I am not seeing it on the MRI, and MRI's are much more precise & accurate than ultrasounds. I think you're okay." But for the 24 hours before that phone call, I believed that I had liver cancer & that I was going to die, very SOON.

Hence, another awakening.

Even while finishing this painting today, the lesson was so physically with me . . . Since I started the painting last summer & then picking up my brush to paint the tiny lines this morning . . . my hand was shaking & unsteady . . . my vision was blurred . . . the lines under my brush were crooked  . . . should I wait to finish it? Should I put down my brush because I can't paint as well as I did a year ago?

I had been WAITING, to truly live, to be happy, and to allow my life to be sacred.

I had placed all of these parameters on how & when my life would be sacred.

and in that moment, I decided to be done with that.

I have decided, that My Life is Sacred, NOW.

RIGHT NOW.

In this moment, with the dirty laundry, and the pile of mail, and the pizza for dinner, and the non-doing of yoga, and the ache in my bones, and the burning in my muscles, and the pain that keeps me in bed . . . THIS moment, IS SACRED.

In this moment, I am alive, and I am surrounded by LOVE, and I am full of LOVE . . .

No more waiting. No more IF ... THEN...

It's NOW.

This beautiful, horrible, glorious moment . . .

My Life is Sacred, NOW.

                                                            "My Life is Sacred NOW" print available HERE  

How about you? Have you been making excuses for why your life can't be Sacred NOW?

What have you been waiting for?

Are you ready for Your Life to be Scared NOW?

Thanks for being here & thanks for listening.

Last week I realized that, even though I don't like to talk about it, it's probably a good thing for me to tell you one of the reasons why I'm so passionate about my life & my art. I'll tell you HERE. 

There are a few 2016 calendars left HERE. 

One of my favorite songs for you, HERE. 

BIG LOVES,

XOXO

E.K.

ps. If you don't want to miss my next blog post, new art & exclusive offers, get your booty on my mailing list HERE.

NOT fibromyalgia. What I have is FATAL. (please SHARE) by Erica Kathleen

                 Original painting HERE           Prints HERE

                Original painting HERE         Prints HERE

I share this, not because I want people to know my business. I share this for one reason, to help people, & ultimately SAVE LIVES.

I have been suffering 'fibromyalgia" symptoms & my health rapidly declining for over a year, (realistically, many years).

You can read about my symptoms in THIS post.

I finally have an answer.

It might not be your answer, but it might.

It might help someone you love who is suffering.

What I have is FATAL.

If left untreated, IT WILL KILL YOU.

See my urgency in getting the word out? This is serious shit.

I'll spare you the stories & details of how I got from there to here & just get the important points across.

I insisted on an MRI, because my liver HURT.

and from those results & further blood tests to confirm, 

HEMOCHROMATOSIS. (overview HERE)

Never heard of it right? I hadn't either.

Even when I looked it up, at first I wasn't too concerned, "Iron Overload Disease."

Problem is, hemochromatosis people have a genetic blood disorder. One that causes them to absorb excess iron. Iron doesn't have a way out of the body, so it builds up, pretty much from birth.

The iron builds & accumulates & eventually there is so much in the blood, that it starts being deposited in areas where it shouldn't be . . . Liver (like me), heart, pancreas, other organs, bones, joints, muscles . . . .

Basically, the blood poisons the body.

GOOD NEWS is . . . it is totally treatable if caught before there is organ damage.

Treatment is awesomely medieval . . . bloodletting.

The only way to get iron out of the body, is to remove blood from the body. It's called "phlebotomy", more on that HERE. I had my first one yesterday. You have to do them often when your levels are super high, then once you're in a safe range, you go less often, but it is a lifelong thing.

Most doctors don't even know about this disease, which sucks ass, because it is VERY COMMON. It is misdiagnosed & people DIE.

If you have some of the symptoms (HERE), get tested.

If you've been sick & doctors can't figure out why, get tested.

If you don't have insurance & you're using that as an excuse, get tested.

FATAL, people. DEADLY.

Your blood poisons your body, till you DIE.

SO, for the love of everything holy (that's YOU, btw), get fucking tested.

SHARE this information.

This is a SUPER COMMON DISEASE, but doctors don't know about it, so it gets missed EVERY FUCKING DAY, and people DIE. (here's a story of 2 local Utah people, 35 & 38, died from it because there doctors didn't know to check for it)

Why don't doctors know about it? My guess is that because there are no pharmaceuticals to treat it, which means Big Pharma certainly won't sponsor research for it . . . so, ya. They're asshats, but we already knew that.

You don't need an MRI.

Start with these 3 tests:

1. Ferritin level

2. Serum Iron Level

3. TIBC (total iron binding capacity)

More about testing HERE

So. There it is.

PLEASE. PLEASE. PLEASE. Share this information. It could save someone's life. For real.

People are dying from this, when it is TOTALLY TREATABLE.

Please help spread the word, share with friends & loved ones.

Press the little Facebook icon at the bottom of this post & help me spread the word, PLEASE & thank YOU ;)

No one should have to die from this.

Thank you.

Peace,

XO Erica

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retiring the boxing gloves by Erica Kathleen

"Tribal Magic" available  HERE.

"Tribal Magic" available HERE.

"FIGHTER" is tattooed on my inner left wrist. 

I fought because I had to. I fought for my life & my freedom & my kids & a new life.

I fought for years to get away from emotional abuse & narcissism, controlling & crazy making.

I fought in court. I fought the ugliest battles I would never wish on my worst enemies.

In a 20 year relationship, I fought every day for my sanity, my self esteem,  . . . everything, was a fight.

I've been free from that fight for about 5 years now

And only now am I beginning to realize that I don't know how NOT to fight.

It's like that's my body's default mode. It just is. That's what it knows.

And now that I don't NEED to fight, I can feel the poison of the fight built up in my bones. I can feel it in my tensed shoulders and the knots in my stomach & the muscles in my hips that are strung so tight, if I was a guitar, and you plucked me . . . I'd break. 

Even though my brain KNOWS that I am safe & loved . . . my body is still in fight or flight & it's done. It's done fighting. It's done flinching, tensing, waiting to be punched. It is SO fucking done.

Most of you know I have been pretty sick for the last year. I'm still trying to figure out what "it" is & I think it's turning out to be many things. 

I've been pretty obsessed with figuring it out. I want to be better. I want to feel better. I want to feel healthy. I want to be ok.

But even in figuring out the illness, it's almost like I've been fighting.

Fighting with my muscles. Fighting with the doctors. Fighting with the test results. Fighting.

I'm soon tired of fighting.

I am tired of fighting with MYSELF.

In a moment of complete & utter breakdown the other night, when an ultrasound was read wrong & I was convinced I was going to die, soon, I fell to my knees in tears, sobbing, breathing . . .

and in that moment, all there was, was LOVE.

In that moment, all I wanted to do was LOVE this body.

I didn't want to fight the sickness anymore.

I didn't want to fight with the doctors or my muscles, or this beautiful body who has carried me through so much.

I just wanted to LOVE this body.

Wholly, completely, as it is, in this moment.

So, I am going to do my very best to leave the boxing gloves on the shelf, and LOVE this body with everything I've got.

Real food = LOVE.

Gentle movement = LOVE.

Sweet rest = LOVE.

Relaxing baths = LOVE

LOVE.

The focus has shifted from "what's wrong with me?" to "what can I do in this moment to LOVE & honor my body?"

That's it.

That's where it's at for me.

It's a novel concept.

Wish me luck.

xo, EK

ps. I am off Facebook again. It's just too much. So, If you have a friend or loved one who might benefit from this post, please share. 

what matters? by Erica Kathleen

lately, I've been doing a LOT of simplifying, getting rid of, throwing away, giving away . . . and in that process, asking, does it matter?

what matters?

what's important?

what brings me joy?

and I've realized something pretty cool . . . just in my "physical" world . . . 

I started in my bedroom, in my closets & in my drawers, with my clothes.

Now, maybe it's just me, but I see metaphors EVERYWHERE. 

(Just keep that in the back of your mind as you read this ;)

I have found that I had a shit-ton of things that 

do NOT matter,

do NOT bring me joy,

are NOT important,

and, while I'm being honest, most of these things served as a distraction, or were just there to fill up empty space. 

And in the hours and days, box after box of 'stuff' to get rid of, I realize something pretty cool . . . I REEEEEEAAALLLLY dig the SPACE I am creating.

SPACE to breathe.

SPACE to move.

SPACE to grow.

SPACE to appreciate & honor the things that DO matter, now, today.

That beautiful skirt that I paid $45 for, that I used to love & wear, but has been hanging in my closet for 2 years & I will most likely never wear again . . .

Those German shoes that I paid over $100 for, but they are just not "me" anymore  . . .

The jeans that are so god damn cute, have been in my closet for years & I have NEVER worn . . .

SO many things.

So many pretty things.

So many pretty things that I never wear, never touch, never use.

In giving them away, and going back to my closet now, you know what I see?

I LOVE every piece of clothing hanging up.

I WEAR every item in my drawers.

I see ME, today ME, not ME from two years ago . . . ME, in the present moment.

In getting rid of the EXCESS, I have made room for right now.

I have gotten rid of yesterdays & tomorrows that may never come.

I have a little moment of "now".

That gives my heart a little bit of PEACE,

and I really dig peace.

what do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

BTW, I've struggled with the too much "STUFF" syndrome for years. I've stressed & fretted & TRIED to get rid of it for years, to no avail. This summer, I picked up THIS little gem & it rocked my world & started me on my 'getting rid of all my shit' journey. I highly recommend it ;) 

 

Big Loves,

Erica

oh YES! In the spirit of 'getting rid of", I have put 41 of my print designs on CLEARANCE, most for $1. Go HERE & scroll down. All Clearance stuff is at the bottom.

What happened after I decided to clear out some old art? I made 2 new paintings! Huh. Go figure ;)




Dear Louise Hay, BITE ME. by Erica Kathleen

                                                                                                           "hold on" available  HERE

                                                                                                           "hold on" available HERE

*UPDATE: 10 months after this post, I was diagnosed with Hemochromatosis. So, everywhere you read "fibromyalgia", replace it with Hemochromatosis*

i've said before, that everything i thought was true & real has been turned upside down & shaken & i don't know what the fuck i believe anymore . . .

well, this morning i got a huge shot of clarity.

here is what i know:

i know that i am sick. (yep, i said it out loud). i know that my physical body is ill. i know that i have gallstones in my gallbladder & liver. i know that i have fibromyalgia. i know that my body aches so fucking bad, it feels like every cell in my body is dying. i know that my muscles burn, nonstop. i know that my bones ache like a motherfucker. i know that i get so exhausted, it is a monumental effort for me to do the tiniest task. i know that many times i want to be with the people i love, and do the things i love to do, but i physically CAN'T.

these things i know. these things are facts.

then there's this whole culture & way of thinking, which i have very happily subscribed to, until this morning, when this song came on the radio. listen to it, every word, before you read any further.

in an instant, everything i have believed is null & void. it doesn't make sense, and quite frankly, is complete & utter BULLSHIT.

Dear Louise Hay (& other heal-yourself-ers), I am officially breaking up with you today. It's been fun & romantic, with the notions that if I love myself enough, I can heal my physical body. But, I'm done. It's over.

Not that I am going to quit loving myself, or learning things, or growing, or healing . . . not at all.

On the contrary, my choice today, is the BIGGEST step I have taken in really, truly, actually LOVING MYSELF.

How so? Let me tell you.

Listening to the words of this song this morning, really, in one fucking instant, my mind exploded & it all became crystal clear.

What I have been doing, in subscribing to this way of thinking . . . is BLAMING myself for being sick. 

can you see it?

Gallstones. (read that post HERE). New Age would have me believe (& I did), that I have gallstones because I have held on to anger & resentment. Sounds reasonable, (well, it did, then).

I couldn't find any anger. I looked, but there was none there. (read this post) So what did I do? I fucking dug & dug & dug till I found (or created) some. WHy?? Well, duh, because these stones are there BECAUSE of my anger, and so, I MUST have anger &  heal that anger, in order to heal myself from these stones.

Wow. Really? It made perfect sense at the time. Now, it makes me fucking cringe.

DO you see what happened? Because of my beliefs (love yourself, heal your life),  . . . at the very core, I was BLAMING MYSELF for my physical illness, and for not miraculously curing it. 

I was sick, because I didn't love myself enough. I was sick, because I had not let go of anger. Well, fuck! Really? If I'm sick because of "anger", then, to get better, all I have to do is heal that anger, right? Ya, right.

So, I dug & I dug & I dug & I did find some shit to be angry about, real, true, heart-breaking shit. Shit that I had repressed & never acknowledged & was not pretty to visit. WOW! This MUST be it! This MUST be the root cause of my illness. MUST BE. Must be. Let's dig & excavate & re-fucking-traumatize ourselves in the process. Ya. Awesome. NOT.

then there's the New Age explanation for fibromyalgia: "stuffed trauma". Weeeelllllll then, let's fucking un-stuff it. Shall we? For real, I think I have single-handedly traumatized myself for the past few months, trying to "heal myself".

So, let me get this straight, I have fibromyalgia, because I have not properly dealt with a trauma . . . and I have gallstones because I am holding onto anger.

Do you see the fucking irony here???

The belief is that "if you love yourself enough & heal your emotional shit, your body will heal & all will be well" . . .

HOWEVER that very same belief is pointing one big fat fucking finger of FAULT at the sick person. 

It's my FAULT that I have gallstones.

It is my FAULT that I have fibromyalgia.

It is my FAULT, because I am not 'in touch' enough with my spirituality.

It's my FAULT, because some fucking book says I must be angry.

It's my FAULT, because I have not been diligent enough in my spiritual practice & certainly, i still MUST have something really important to learn from these fucked up illnesses, CERTAINLY, or, obviously, I wouldn't be sick. Duh.

Do you see the huge, wide, gaping wound of discontent & NON-ACCEPTANCE here? 

We suffer when we want things to be different than they are. NON-ACCEPTANCE. Well, who wants to be sick? And who, if they COULD heal themselves, wouldn't? So, instead of accepting reality, (i'm sick, ACCEPTANCE), I create HUGE anxiety around the hopes that I actually have some control over this & if I just work hard enough, things will be different (NON-ACCEPTANCE).

I never saw the ridiculousness of all this until today. And even more, I'm kind of blown away at the astronomical number of people (previously me, until an hour ago, included) who subscribe to this way of thinking.

It is so blatantly, BULLSHIT . . . "Love yourself enough & you will heal", but in the meantime, BLAME YOURSELF for physical & biological fucking phenomenons!  BLAME YOURSELF for not healing, because, after all, YOU HAVE CONTROL OVER IT!

REALLY?!!!

How could I POSSIBLY love myself when I am daily, hourly, by the minute, BLAMING myself for being sick??? I'd venture to say, it's near fucking impossible.

I wonder where "BLAME" fits on the physical/emotional wheel? I wonder what kind of damage it does to BLAME yourself every minute of every day? I wonder how conducive "BLAME" is to healing?

If you are still sick... if you are not healing... well then, it must be something that YOU ARE DOING WRONG. Obviously, you are not being diligent enough or working hard enough on your emotional shit. 

Because you are the master of your life & if you "think good thoughts", you will heal. And for the love of God, don't SAY (out loud) that you are sick, because whatever you SAY will become truth.

Ahem. Pardon me, while I VOMIT. If that were true, if our thoughts & our words had the power to CREATE REALITY, then, please, someone s'plain to me, why all of my reading, & workshops, & spiritual work & forgiveness & releasing & positive thinking, & saying "I'm healing", and my gigantic vision board with photos & healing words hasn't done SHIT? Tell me.

Yet, if I were to allow the words, "I'm sick", to fall from my mouth, then I better watch out, because surely, I have just told the Universe that I am sick, & NOW it's gonna be real. (Because before I actually DARED to say it out loud, it wasn't true?) Fuck off.

BULLSHIT.

BULLSHIT.

BULLSHIT.

(bear with me, i'm on one today)

so, then, there's the whole thing of this book . . . which I absolutely fell in LOVE with, scooped up & made it real in my life, used it to make sense of horrible things . . . which worked, until NOW.

Here's why:

The whole idea that "I CHOSE" to come into this world & live 20 years in an abusive marriage, to get a black eye, to be fucking raged at, to be called a whore, to forget who I am, to live in a nightmare, to fear for my life . . . whY? (insert romantic notion here:) . . . well, let's seeeeee . . . I "CHOSE" that so that I could help other women. I "CHOSE" that so that I could make really powerful art. I "CHOSE" that so I could write a blog. I "CHOSE" that because I wanted to learn what "forgiveness" is. (It all sounds very martyr-ish, in hindsight). Wow, how very brave of me, how very unselfish of me, to CHOOSE to live a fucking hell, so I could help other people. Someone, saint me! Quick.

I CALL A HUGE FUCKING BULLSHIT.

We ARE LOVE. We don't need shitty fucking things to happen to us, to learn how to love. We don't need to suffer, to be whole. We ARE WHOLE.

So, this morning, I am breaking up with New Age thinking. I'm not listening to another podcast. I'm not buying another book. I'm not subscribing to the bullshit.

This is what I know: I am a beautiful, loving Spirit, living on this earth, and right now, my physical body is sick. THIS IS THE TRUTH.. I accept it. 

I know that I have gallstones in my liver & gallbladder. I know that this sent me to the emergency room. (I also know they are there, because I saw them on the ultrasound with my own eyeballs). I also know, that it is possible to rid my body of these stones without surgery. I know that I have done about 6 liver flushes & every, single time, hundreds & hundreds of stones have freely left my body. How do I know? Because I have seen it with my own eyes. I have photos, if you need proof. 

Just to clarify, it was the liver flushes that sent the stones out of my body, NOT the talking, not the spiritual work, but the physical/biological work of doing a flush.

I know that I have fibromyalgia. I know that it is unpredictable. I know that there is no "cure". I know that it fucking sucks ass & some days I want to die. I know that not every day is a bad day. I know that there is still light. I know that sometimes I can't do a god-damn-fucking-thing to make the pain stop. I know that sometimes, it's bearable. I know that acupuncture & yoga & swimming & massage & epsom salt baths all help me to feel better. 

(I also know the the emotional & spiritual shit makes me feel bad. It makes me sad. It makes me feel weak. It makes me feel broken. It makes me feel like I need "fixing". It makes me feel like a fuck-up & a failure).

I know that I am not a quitter. I know that I am stubborn & sometimes a hard-ass. I know that I will keep doing everything I physically can, to feel better. I know that I am committed to loving myself. I know that I made a HUGE step today, in deciding to stop blaming myself for being sick & for not "healing".

So, to Louise Hay & many well-meaning friends, you can believe what you choose to believe, & I can choose to believe what I believe. We all have the right to believe what we want, but from this day forward, I CHOOSE to stop blaming myself for being sick. I CHOOSE to stop feeling bad or feeling like a failure when my "spiritual work" doesn't heal my physical illness.

I CHOOSE to believe in reality. I CHOOSE to accept what is real, in my life & in my body at this moment. Does this mean I am giving up & giving in & resigning to be ill & suffer? FUCK NO. 

But when I have bad days, when my body aches so much that I can't get out of bed, I will no longer tell myself, "You must be doing something wrong. You must not be working hard enough. You must not have healed your inner child. You must not have truly forgiven. You must not deserve to be well yet. There must be some karmic debt you still owe."

Never again.

You see, I'm all about taking responsibility for your actions. If I drink too much wine & have a headache the next day, well then, yes, my actions caused the headache. Or if I eat a gallon of cheap ice cream & get a terrible stomach ache, then yes, my choices caused that physical ailment.

But not one more day, will I wake up, every cell of my body in pain, and BLAME myself for not healing my inner child, or whatthefuckever.

Do you see the HUGE amount of pressure and stress & anxiety this puts on someone? Telling them that they somehow are CAUSING this illness, something they have done, or haven't done, and if they work hard enough & dig deep enough & pray enough, that they can CURE THEMSELVES? Wow. Really?

a very ugly realization about how dangerous this kind of thinking can be . . . not ONLY was I condemning myself & blaming myself for ME being ill . . . but, inadvertently, I was also blaming every other person who is ill, for their own illness. I would go so far as to say that, I unconsciously believed that, people who die from their illnesses, could have, in some way, prevented it, stopped it, or healed it . . . but, that they just didn't "work hard enough to heal their emotional shit".  Now, THAT, my friends, is fucked.

How about this? Do you know someone, have you loved someone, have you ever lost someone you loved dearly, to illness, or disease? Would you ever dare to look at that person, laying in bed, in so much unbearable pain, dying, and say . . .  "If you would have just worked harder. . . if you would have just forgiven Uncle Joe, if you would have prayed for 2 hours every day, if you would have seen a therapist or a shaman, if you would have healed your inner child, you wouldn't be in this predicament . . . you could have prevented this . . . the pain you are in right now is your fault . . . you had the power to heal yourself, but you just weren't diligent enough. You didn't try hard enough. You didn't dig deep enough."

Would you? Ever? Seriously.

I think we are too attached to meaning. We try to find reason where there is none. We want to make sense of fucking horrible things, in an attempt to make them less painful, so we reach, we stretch, we concoct romantic notions that we have any control at all . . . or there is a 'deeper meaning', or 'everything happens for a reason'.

Thank you, Lucinda Williams, for the beautiful song, that exploded my brain this morning. 

"You weren't born to be abandoned
And you weren't born to be forsaken
You were born to be loved
You were born to be loved

You weren't born to be mistreated
And you weren't born to be misguided
You were born to be loved
You were born to be loved

You weren't born to be a slave
And you weren't born to be disgraced
You were born to be loved
Mmm, hmm, you were born to be loved

You weren't born to be abused
And you weren't born to lose
You were born to be loved
You were born to be loved

You weren't born to suffer
And you weren't born for nothing
You were born to be loved
Mmm, hmm, you were born to be loved"

I listen to these words, and I feel my heart breathe a huge sigh of relief . . . what I hear is . . . "girrrrrl, some shitty things have happened, and it's not your fault".

xo, 

EK

ps. subscribe to my newsletter & blog posts HERE

 

 

 

too much. by Erica Kathleen

"If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Right?

Hence, my silence.

Who wants to hear about my laundry list of physical ailments? Who wants to read about pain & suffering? Who wants to hear . . . blah, blah, blah.

And then I remember, If I am not REAL, who am I? If I am not HONEST, who am I? If I am not a TRUTH-teller, who am I?

So, here is my truth . . . it's all gotten to be TOO MUCH. I went off social media over a month ago. Too much noise, too much chatter, too bright, too loud, to scratchy, TOO MUCH.

I find myself on this "healing journey" . . . has a nice kind of romantic ring to it, doesn't it? Emotional healing. Physical healing. Body, mind & Spirit. Romantic.

Until, it all gets to be too fucking much. I used to subscribe to the idea that, "everything happens for a reason", and "physical ailments have emotional roots" . . . It sure makes the tough times a lot easier to swallow, when you have these beliefs.

But last week, I was sitting, having a conversation with my love & I said, "What if it's all fucking bullshit? What if there is no "reason" for my fibromyalgia or my gallstones or my sick liver? What if it just fucking happened & there is no deeper meaning? Because, if it WAS caused by traumas, & to 'heal the physical ailment, you have to heal what caused it'.....I have done NOTHING but work on healing these traumas . . . I have dug so fucking deep, my entire world as I know it has fallen completely fucking apart because NOTHING is what I thought it was . . . I have worked SO FUCKING HARD at healing these traumas . . . every single day, my sole focus is healing . . . and my body is falling apart. I feel like I'm dying. What if I do die? Does that mean I didn't work hard enough at healing? FUCK THAT."

I told you I didn't have anything nice to say, but this is where I'm at, LOST on this "journey". Even that word . . . JOURNEY, makes me want to fucking vomit.

It doesn't feel like a journey. It feels like death.

Oh yes, I've always been fond of the "caterpillar in the cocoon, turning into a butterfly" idea . . . another romantic notion to help us make it through hard times . . . which, also, at this point, brings an instant gag reflex to my whole body. 

To describe what it feels like, when I close my eyes . . . there is No "journey". No caterpillars & cocoons. No steps on a path, leading me to a better place. No healing light. No one guiding me. No amazing metamorphosis. . .

What it is, is this . . .

dark. pitch black. no evidence of light, anywhere. it doesn't exist here.

cold. bone-chilling cold. cold that can never be warmed & never goes away. 

aches. in the very core of my bones. feeling that my body has been beaten & smashed by a hammer, from the inside out. 

muscles that are so weak I can barely move, yet are so tight, they burn like I've been weight lifting for hours.

a head that is so heavy, it feels like it's made of lead & my body can barely hold it up.

sleep, that is so elusive & hard to find, even when I am so exhausted I can't move. muscles that won't relax, nerves that don't shut 'off' . . . waking up feeling like I was run over by a semi truck.

that's just for starters.

so, you see. I'm having a really difficult time finding the "reason". I'm having a hard time with the "caterpillar & the cocoon" deal. 

I don't write this to complain. I don't write this for pity. I write this for the reason I share anything personal . . . in the HOPES that it will help someone else. Personally, I find great comfort in knowing I'm not alone in my struggles.

Please share this if you feel it might help someone. Please let me know if it touched you, or helped you.

Because maybe, the whole idea of "sharing my pain to help other people" is just another romantic notion that needs to go.

I don't know.

Frankly, I don't know what the fuck I know anymore.

*to subscribe to my newsletter/blog posts, go HERE.

addicted to pain. by Erica Kathleen

I must admit . . .

I've gotten swept away in a whirlwind of emotional & physical pain.

I've been working on healing my physical pain, which started out this summer, as a trip to the ER & a diagnosis of gallstones. Months & months & months of debilitating & deteriorating physical health & a new "dis-ease", fibromyalgia. I've been working my ASS OFF trying to "fix this"! My monkey mind feels the NEED to figure things out, to find the "why" behind everything, to DIG & excavate  . . .
I've been reading, researching, digging . . . working on the physical part with acupuncture, massage, TRE's, yoga, whatever I can think of.
I have unconsciously allowed myself to get swept up & consumed by this new "story" of pain. I have made this my "new identity". Hell YES, the pain is real. Fuck YES, the trauma I have uncovered is real. Holy shit, YES there are things that needed to be acknowledged & dealt with, but, MYGOD, did I ever get swept away in the "STORY".
Wow. HOLY SHIT. Wow.
It wasn't until yesterday, in a thai massage session with a very dear friend & energy worker . . . laying on my back, all of the sudden, it was clear as DAY & I said to her, "I think I'm addicted to pain!? WHAT THE FUCK?!!!"
For real. Did I REALLY need to dig that far? Did I REALLY need to let it consume my every waking thought? Did I REALLY need to go, "oh YES, this is who I AM."?  . . . ummmmmm. No. I did not.
So, this is a pretty, spanking, brand-new realization I've got goin' on & it's kind of blowing my mind. BIG TIME.
My friend sent me this link this morning, about pain addiction & it rings true & completely makes sense. Right? Right.
It's so weird & awesome how everything is intertwined. Everything. I have been uncovering, through acupuncture, alot of repressed memories & feelings from when I was a little girl. Things that are pretty rough & painful, so my brain (thanks, brain), stuffed them away, so I could get through it. But now that I am not a little girl, or even the girl who was married to the abusive husband, I have certain things, patterns, ways of reacting to the world . . . that were put in place when I was in a scary, unsafe, uncertain, painful world. 
My world is completely different today. So, the challenge that lies ahead, is not the digging & feeling of incredible pain & sadness that I thought it was . . . the challenge is to recognize old behaviors, old thought patterns, old ways of reacting to my OLD world . . . that are no longer valid & no longer serve me. In a sense, it is re-wiring my brain. For real.
It's awesome & exciting & liberating & scary. 
Who am I without my pain?
I remember after I got divorced, there came a moment, when I was soooo sick & fucking tired of being the "victim", of this "poor girl" who had gone through this nightmare. I was DONE being her. I was DONE with that STORY. Then, for a split second, I was fucking TERRIFIED . . . "If I'm not the victim, who am I? If i'm not his wife, who am I? If I am no longer this person that I have been for 20 years . . . WHO AM I???" Terrified. But then, in that same moment, the terror gave way to excitement, "I can be whoever the fuck I WANT TO BE!"
Wow. Yes. At that same moment, right now.

Letting go of the "STORY".


Deeeeep breaths. Self love. Compassion. Not beating myself up. Embracing this journey as much as I possibly can.


Exhausted.
Excited.
Thankful.
Ready. 
BIG LOVES,
Erica

p.s. I've been reading a lot of amazing books that have helped me on my journey. You can see them HERE

OH YES! I have 4 lots of Clearance art 123, & 4!

If you haven't already, and you want to be kept in the loop, sign up for my newsletter HERE.

church by Erica Kathleen

so, the day I wrote my last blog post, I was kind of a mess. Exhausted from the physical pain, I wrote. Then almost immediately after, I found myself at church. 

This isn't a church with a sign out front, or walls, or pews or sermons. This is my church. I drive up the canyon, I walk down a windy path, I wade through the cold water and find my seat on the river's edge. THIS is my church. THIS is where I connect with Spirit. THIS is where my answers come. Every single time.

I sit & I talk. I talk, just like I'm talking to a friend. I say, out loud, everything that is in my head & my heart, & I talk until the answer comes out of my own mouth. This day was no different.

I said, "Bring it! Let's do this! Let's pull out all this anger & deal with it!" . . . and then something awesome happened. There was NO ANGER about my past. NONE. There was no emotion. No hurt. Nothing to forgive. That work had been done. I tried again, digging deeper, and deeper . . . NOTHING. I really had worked through it. I really had forgiven. I really had moved on.

The physical stuff that ended me up in the ER was there, but it is OLD, and I knew that. I knew that I had been feeling that pain for years & years & years. It took 20 years for it to get like that & it wasn't about to disappear after one week of eating good food. The emotional/spiritual work to heal it had been DONE, and now, what is left, is the PHYSICAL work, the NUTRITION & self care that I have already started. I AM on the right path.

Of course, learning a new way of living & caring for my body is not as quick as surgery, that's obvious. But surgery will not teach me how to take care of myself. Surgery will not teach me how to lovingly create whole food meals to nourish my body. Surgery will not help me create a yoga routine. Surgery will not help me to acknowledge when I am tired & need to rest. Surgery will not help me develop a new water drinking habit. Surgery would serve one purpose: to REMOVE a part of me that, for YEARS, was trying to communicate with me & teach me what I needed to look at & deal with. Surgery would cut out the most important step in this journey, ALLOWING me to LEARN to love & care for my body, on my own.

I always try to find the lesson in life's hard moments. I ask, "What is this trying to teach me?" . . . and after over half of my lifetime, I get it. My lesson here, Speak UP, Stand UP. Don't play martyr. Don't play victim. Don't suffer in silence. DON'T SWALLOW YOUR FUCKING TRUTH. Period.

And, despite what some people might think I should or shouldn't do, this is my journey, and I am not a skip stepper.

What DID come up, while I was up the mountain, talking to Spirit was this . . . I have been feeling resentful. Resentful that my children's father chooses to see them once a year. Resentful that he doesn't show up at Christmas. Resentful that he lets them down. Resentful that he doesn't even know them.

But, as quickly as it came out of my mouth, I felt Spirit's hand on my shoulder, my heart cracked open a little wider & my words changed. Drastically.

"Thank you, for him not being in their lives. Thank you, for him living 1,000 miles away. Thank you, for him not being a daily influence on them. Thank you. THANK YOU. OHDEARGOD THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Thank you for the amazing man who has CHOSEN to be in our lives. Thank you for the man who IS a daily influence in their lives. Thank you for him being the most kind & generous & loving man I have ever known. Thank you for this man, who is a GIFT, who shows them love & compassion & empathy & selflessness. Thank you for this man, who was not around when they were conceived, but, who CHOOSES TO SHOW UP FOR THEM, DAILY. Thank you for this man who CHOOSES to be in their lives, who CHERISHES every moment with them, who LOVES them as if they were his own.

THANK YOU for these amazing, beautiful, resilient kids. Thank you for their love & their lessons & their forgiveness & their LIGHT. Thank you for our safety. Thank you for our home. THANK YOU FOR OUR LIVES TOGETHER. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."

And, just like that, Spirit had set me straight. 

And so, with new gratitude & focus, my journey continues. This chapter: Nutrition. (whole foods, water, moving my body, rest, love)

Smiling.

I can do this. I AM doing this.

Thanks for being here.

Much love,

EK

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pps. In the spirit of cleansing, purging & releasing, I am having a BOGO sale in my shop. This includes regular priced prints & cards. It does not include clearance prints, originals, canvases, or custom pieces. The sale will last ONE WEEK ONLY. When you place your order, Include a note, telling me what you want for FREE! 

Buy one get one FREE on regular priced prints & cards of same or lesser value.

 

anger stones by Erica Kathleen

So, a few weeks ago, I ended up in the emergency room, with pain in my stomach, so bad, I felt like I was dying. I knew I wasn't dying, but I felt like I was. The ER doc asked me, "describe your pain. What does it feel like?" . . . through my tears, "it feels like my stomach is full of poison!" . . . He looks at me weird, "Well, I'm not sure what that feels like? I don't know what it feels like to have a stomach full of poison." . . . Me, "I don't either, but I would imagine THIS IS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE! It's not cramps. It's not a stomach ache. It's not food. It's not a stabbing pain. From my belly-button up, all up under my ribs, FEELS LIKE IT'S FULL OF POISON!"

Let me say that, I have had stomach issues for YEARS, like, at least 10. My stomach almost ALWAYS hurts. It's something that is just always there, & I have learned to live with it. I have had soooo many blood tests, pee tests, ultrasounds, x-rays, all of it. No doctor could ever find the cause of it.

So that day in the ER, I got another ultrasound. But this time the tech was focusing somewhere that never got looked at before. He was looking at my upper right side. A very small area, under my ribs.

Gallstones. Cool. Aren't those the ones you pee out & everything is fine? No. I had no idea.

So, back in the room with the ER doc, "Gallstones. ALOT of them." Me, "Like, how many?" Doc, "ALOT! Way too many to count."

"Ok. So how do we fix this? How do we get them out?" . . . Doc, "Surgery. We cut out your gallbladder." . . . Me, "Ummmm, and what if we DON'T cut it out?" . . . Doc, "Well, then you will continue to have this pain, which is caused by a stone getting stuck in the bile duct. The pain will get worse. Every time you eat, you will have excruciating pain. Eventually, it will get so bad, that your gallbladder will become infected, and you will get really sick & might die."

Not cool. Not the answer I wanted.

I had already cut waaaay back on food. I rarely eat, and only a week before, had said to my honey, "I think I know why I hardly ever eat! Because every time I do, I feel like SHIT afterwards. My stomach hurts so bad.

"Louise Hay mentioned that gallstones could be tied to bitterness, hard thoughts, condemning or pride. Over the years, these unexpressed emotions could solidify into gallstones. And if it causes a lot of pain and inflammation, it also represents the seething anger. 
Let go of the anger. Soften our hearts- forgive. In forgiving the other person, we also forgive ourselves. We forgive ourselves for making the mistake of trusting and loving the person. I
t’s time to learn from the mistake and betrayal and move on in life. Look around- there is still a lot of goodness in the world. They are many others who are kind and love us- let’s not make a bad experience ruin life for us ." -Link between gallbladder & gallstones & our unresolved emotional issues/Digestive Wellness, Mind-Body Connection. full article HERE

So, I've read & I've researched & I've decided to do my best to avoid surgery & heal this on my own. I've made some big changes in the nutrition department. I believe I can heal this on my own, with food, exercise & a whole fucking lot of letting go.

That's where I'm at now. I'm physically exhausted every day. My body aches. My stomach hurts. I feel 100 years old. I'm doing the nutrition part, but the emotional part is still waiting. It's funny (not really), but I FEEL like I've already dealt with this, the anger, SO MANY TIMES. I thought I was over it. I thought it was healed. 

I believe that physical dis-ease is directly tied to emotional/spiritual wounds/work. I have said, quite a few times, "I'm surprised my body wasn't full of cancer by the time I left." (Speaking of my 17 year relationship with an abusive man). I held SOOOO FUCKING MUCH inside, for sooo long. I held on TIGHT to hurt, to pain, to bitterness, to hate, to anger, to resentment . . . SO MUCH, for SO LONG.

Good news. Bad news. I am NOT full of cancer, but I am full of gallstones, a dis-eased gallbladder, a dis-eased liver, a dis-eased digestive system. And why wouldn't I be? Why would I have a healthy stomach, when I have housed such poisonous emotions in this area for now 23 years? 

7 years ago, a few months before I finally left my marriage, I was sick. I was skinny & weak. I wasn't eating. I had migraines. I had stomach pains. I almost fainted, alot. I was going to the doctor & they ran all sorts of tests. Blood tests, pee tests, ultrasounds . . . so many tests. After months of tests & trying to figure out what was going on, my doc says, "Good news is, all your tests are clear. Bad news is, we still don't know what is going on with you." Exhausted, I said, "Well then, can you at least prescribe me some antidepressants? because I am really fucking depressed." My doc says, "You are? Why?"  . . . after a few sentences of me describing what my life was like, he looks at me & says, "This would have been REALLY helpful to know a few months ago!" Naive little me says, "Why? This has NOTHING to do with what is going on with my body!" Smarter than most western medicine docs then says, "This has EVERYTHING to do with what is going on in your body. You are not dealing with it, so your body is screaming at you, and will continue to do so, until you DEAL WITH IT."  . . . ouch. truth hurts sometimes.

It's funny, how naive I can be sometimes. When I first read Louise Hay's reasoning for gallstones, "bitterness, hard thoughts, condemnation & pride", I almost laughed out loud. I was like, "Oh, I am so over it! I have worked through my anger! That lesson is over." . . . funny, not.

So, here I am, in this cocoon. Again. It's fucking PAINFUL. So physically painful. At the beginning, someone asked me, "what are you angry about?" . .  . "NOTHING! I'm not angry. I'm FINE! I've dealt with my anger. I'm OVER IT!" . . . . continues the unbearable physical pain. So, a few times, I've allowed the question to come into my body, "Erica, WHAT are you angry about?" . . . ohmygod . . . I just get a GLIMPSE of a really fucking long list & then I shut it down. Not ready. Not willing yet.

Yes, this cocoon. Wrapped up fucking tight. Arms bound. Legs bound. Mouth covered. Dark. Painful. Rotting away from the inside. Wanting SO BADLY to break free. Wanting to kick & scream & bite & yell & run the fuck away. BOUND.

It's waiting for me. My list of ANGER. It's patiently waiting for me to sit still & get real. It's tying my wrists & squeezing my legs & holding it's ugly fucking dirty hand over my mouth. It's keeping my weeping, weak body in the dark, until I give the nod, & say, "ok, I'm ready. Let's do this."

you see, it's not going to be easy. I know this. and honestly, I might just be a little fucking terrified of the darkness that is swirling around in there, poisoning me. 

I want to "have already healed it". I ache to "be over it." I YEARN to "have already forgiven." But the truth is, I haven't. 

yesterday, I tried to explain with words, to my wonderful, patient beloved, what I am experiencing right now . . . theses are the words that came out, "I just want to fucking rip my clothes off, scratch my skin off & go running into the mountains, screaming!"

cocoon. I know it. I recognize it. I have been here so many times before. I know it won't last forever. I know there is brightness on the outside. I know I will be different when I emerge. 

I also know I won't emerge until I dare to sit with myself in the darkness of the decomposing & speak honestly, with myself, about that anger, until I speak, OUTLOUD, and name every fucking one, even if it takes all day, & when I am done, I am so exhausted that I can't do anything but lay there & my eyes are so swollen from crying that I can't see, and my voice is so hoarse from sobbing & screaming that I can't speak another word. 

This is how the cocoon will crack. 

DEEEEEEEEP BREATHS. DEEEEEEEP BREATHS.

unconditional love.

patience.

thank you, for witnessing my journey.

much love,

EK

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