Category Archives: Religion

ARMAGEDDON – the LIGHT vs the dark

My beloved sister Barb now in Spirit took me by the hand when I was quite small, 7 or 8,  and told me not to believe that bible stuff, to trust that life after death did indeed exist, but that it was not about going to heaven or hell. She tried very tenderly to put me on the path of Spirituality and appreciation for the finer “things” in life. She often took me to the Albright Knox Art Gallery, the Museum of Science and also always validated my love of the outdoors and animals. Many years later when I visited San Francisco for the first time, she took me to the Spiritualist Church with her where we received readings from the reverends who delivered messages from loved ones in “on the other side.” I was always fascinated how Spirits gravitated towards her, my great aunt Anna who died of Cancer in the late 70’s and then my grandmother when she passed in the late 80’s both visited her often. My readings were often ambiguous, which I see at that time was exactly my connection to the Spirit world. Nonetheless over the years, after having a horrendous experience as a teenager with a “born again” family member, I gravitated much more towards things that were Spiritual.

It was in my late 20’s, while some of my friends who grew up in tumultuous households such as mine were reaching towards psychotherapists, that I was making the occasional visit to a psychic or going for long walks by large bodies of water and connecting deeply to the peace I felt around it. I did things like hypnotherapy and totally believed in past lives. I also really started to explore what Spirituality really meant TO ME, my own brand so to speak. I delved into Buddhism and Hinduism for a while. What I found after studying quite a bit was seemingly one common element, the belief in a love so vast, the Universe could not contain it! I have always been a swimmer, and being an extra large Pisces astrologically, water is my home or calming element. I always went to Lake Erie growing up and when I moved to San Francisco full time in 1992 at age 28 (my Saturn return) I had all the water I needed, plus the most diverse, cosmopolitain and gorgeous city in our country. When I felt troubled about something, I ventured to the ocean and let the waves wash over me metaphorically and sometimes physically. The negative ions soothed my physical body and calmed my soul. I also began to study body, energy and breath works to connect deeper to myself and others. My book takes time to describe some of these journeys and I will just say in attempting to close this thought, that I have ALWAYS been Spiritual, never Religious. That old saying comes into play here that “Religion is for those who fear hell and Spirituality is for those who have been there!”

As a young child, I remember feeling a deep connection to the Native Americans and to all “God’s” creatures. The Seneca Indians used to have a daily dance at the Fair and Exposition which ran for 8 days in mid August in our county Erie of Western New York. Back then they were called Indians 😉 and there were two tribes that had settled in this area, the Seneca and the Erie. I remember getting a small replica of a drum when I was little and my animal totem was a black bear. (I still have Barry BlackBeary although he is falling apart.) Their traditional clothing fascinated me, especially the footwear, and I always wanted my hair to be long and thick, just like the beautiful Native American women. In the summer of 1999 when I sat in “CHURCH” with the Native Americans in a teepee in Oregon, around a blazing fire pit, with song, and peyote ceremony that took place from sun down to sun up on the summer solstice, I realized exactly why I had always felt so connected to the Natives. In that teepee, I truly saw THE Truth or what some refer to as “God.” The Natives had welcomed me into their ceremony as one of their own and I felt SO privileged.  To this day, it was probably the single most life-altering experience I have had. It is described in detail in my book. But why do I favor the Native American “Religion” so much? Because it is all about our earth and the creatures that inhabit it. There’s the utmost respect for all that comes from our mother, all our “ancestors” that came before us and for all who will come after we leave our mother. 

The question today is… Why do I think Religion is such bullshit? (Because it was developed by man for man because there needed to be some form of mind control. Heaven forbid we should all discover that we have all the power of the Universe accessible to us!) We are ALL Spiritual first and foremost. Because we just are, end of story. We are born of Spirit and it is proven that our Spirit leaves our body to return to the Universe when we die. SEE THIS ARTICLE for some interesting reading. The point I am trying to make is that we are ALL energy, just energy embodying physical forms. Einstein said we could never understand it all and I would never ever claim to. I just know what I feel intuitively. And what I feel intuitively about the times that we are living in is exactly what Dr Christiane Northrup said that was quoted in my last blog. That the LIGHT is accelerating. That is hitting us so fast and hard that the Darkness has no choice but to be exposed, to come out of hiding. Since the eclipse, the storms of fire and water have intensified. Our political climate is extremely volatile. The energy is heating things up. Fires, floods, hurricanes, disasters… I tend to believe that a lot of this has to do with the anti-Christ that some elected as the POTUS. (He’s not mine.) But what is for sure is that Mother Nature is rip shit angry. There have been jokes about her going off her meds…. This is no joke folks. This is her saying WTFU NOW before I release the Hell that has no fury on y’all. My heart goes out to all the innocent people effected by the natural disasters of late. And because we are a collective consciousness, it is time for us to ALL wake up and do the next right thing. To be present in the moment. To stop being so concerned with materialism, technology and other bullshit. Our planet is crying and human lives are being lost. STOP AND THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO! What you better do is learn how to hunt, fish and grow. Learn how to purify water. Learn how to build shelter. Because water doesn’t come from the faucet and food from the store. Because Armageddon seems to be knocking on the door. That’s why… Namasté ~ Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ (All Are Related)

Also posted in ARMAGEDDON, CHURCH, DEATH, Depression, Emotions, ETERNAL LIFE, Faith, LIGHT, NATIVE AMERICAN, PEYOTE, SPIRITUALITY Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

A FURTHER AWAKENING – September 23, 2017 – EMBODY THE LIGHT

A very good 9/23/17 morning to you all from the town of Camden, Maine! This beautiful mid-coast community was my home on and off from 1988-1991. It holds a very special place in my heart as well as I am discovering, an energetic power grid on our continent. I have long wondered why I feel so at peace here, why I connect so deeply to nature, the people, the Maine culture, and most importantly, my higher self. Recollecting back to my 3rd month into this stretch of my sobriety earlier this year, around my birthday in March, I made a commitment to spend my summer in Maine and Nova Scotia, not knowing exactly how that would happen. My thoughts and words were sent out to the Universe with conviction and well, WE made it happen! Yes WE! I had the help of many others I shall mention along the way in my book. On August 3rd, I crossed the border into now my favorite state of the United, Maine. As some of you know, the Maine state motto is “The Way Life Should Be.” And I cannot testify enough to that statement. There exists so many reasons why, but the main one is because the people in this state are, for the most part, highly conscious of their environment and one another. The “dump” in Camden allows people to recycle ALL items, all the way down to one’s fireplace ashes! Yes, consciousness rises and commercialism diminishes as one crosses that state line…

BLAST THE LIGHT  8.11.17  © Sue Culig

Before heading to Canada, I spent a lovely 3 weeks seeing much of Maine that I had never seen before. I cruised into the small towns and saw old abandoned homes, beautiful countryside, blueberry fields, expansive and clean lake bodies of water. I traveled all the little finger peninsulas “Down East” as the Mainer’s call it. Winter Harbor and Stonington were two of my favs. [Little did I know that my time in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia would blow my Maine experience out of the water. More on that in a coming blog.] In this particular snippet of writing, I would like to thank my mechanic, Iain Pottle of the Beetle Shop in Belfast, Maine for fixing my KaraVan. He helped her make her transition from Moby 😉 by putting in her new transaxel and fixing many other large and small things that needed to be done on my 32 year old small, fast, house. Unlike other mechanics I have seemingly just thrown money at, Iain seems to be first and foremost invested in diagnosing and properly repairing these precious vehicles. Iain’s father, Allen, started the Beetle Shop in 1979 and Iain and Allen continue to provide the VW community with quality repair and are not financial “rakers.” Iain knows how much bloody money I had spent on Moby/Kara since purchasing her in 2015. He also knew that I crossed over the border from Canada the other morning with $2.73 cash and a maxed credit card, having spent my last $550 that was supposed to be budgeted for my travel on mechanics in Nova Scotia who did NOT rectify an ongoing problem. Iain fixed Kara yesterday and she is running like a true charm, rectifying a starting and stalling problem that had persisted since early this year in South Carolina. I also am now aware of what proper miles per gallon are! I paid Iain in cash for one invoice, significantly less than what he billed it for and he called us “square.” He also sent me on my way with another invoice for $153 and said that if the problem was not fixed, that I was not responsible for that payment. And knowing that I had been gifted by great friends basically just enough money to get back to WNY this coming week, he said that I could PayPal him the money for that invoice, only should it fix the problem AND whenever I regroup my finances. Now THAT my friends, is The Way Life Should Be!!! I get SO disheartened of things in this world being SO focused on money. That green stuff is simply an energy, yes a necessary tool for navigating ones way through life, but I do believe in my lifetime that we are going to see the paradigm shift about money as THE way. While in Nova Scotia, I did experience that the barter system is alive and well. And for those of you who are not familiar with the barter system, it is simply an exchange of energy and/or goods… If you do a service for me or provide me with something I need, I give you back a service or some goods. The first time in my life I became familiar with this system was on my first trip to Croatia in 1988. Mind you, I had seen the generosity of my parents with their neighbors and friends doing this over the years in smaller capacities, but in Croatia, there were folks who had cows exchanging milk for eggs from people who had chickens. That very simply, is the barter system…

Sunrise, Glace Bay, Nova Scotia 9.16.17  © Sue Culig

I’m going to address next what has been a highly sensitive topic of late… “HARD WORK” As some of you are aware from knowing me personally many years, I have often been overtly criticized for the way I live. I have been called irresponsible. I have been called a mooch. I have been called a free loader. I have been called a lazy hippy and most recently, an insult to people who “work hard for a living.” Well, first and foremost, these things no longer bother me because I know how hard I work. Being a “creative” is not an easy way to make one’s way through a very money centered consciousness and I have always tried to remain true to my passion and my heart. My sisters have often been the biggest critics of my life and my parent’s generosity with me, mainly the one that was born directly before me, who became “born again” when I was 15. [[[ She obsessively screamed at me that I was going to hell for everything I did when I was a teenager, and that I was going to hell anyway unless I accepted Jesus Christ as my eternal savior! Mind you, this is someone who used to RAGE. And I am not talking raising her voice, I am talking screaming and having tantrums that often became so violent that all the neighbors could hear. Now that is totally Christian, is it not? UGH! At this stage of the game, I can laugh and shrug it off, but NO ONE can imagine how much damage that did even to a very strong-willed and minded, intelligent, young person. And for those of you reading this who I have engaged in relentless debates with about organized religion, Christianity, Bible, God and Jesus, maybe this gives you an idea why I adamantly oppose these belief of as I call them, “blind faith beliefs.” “Born again” Christians are some of the biggest hypocrites I know walking the planet.]]] Enough of that! Nonetheless… I was born 6 years after my three older sisters who came along one right after the other. Yes, I was the baby, the caboose, the mistake as I used to joke with my mom. AND I was rumored to be my “mother’s favorite” if she had one, which I think she truly did not. I was the only one of us 4 to actually graduate college with a Bachelor’s degree. But of course, because it was JUST art school, it didn’t really count 😉 Anyway, I did have an agreement with my mother that I wanted NOTHING when my parent’s passed, yet if they helped me while they were alive, they could see me reap the rewards of their gifts/loans. My mom knows that as strong minded as I always have been, that I had a very tender heart. It took me about 40 freaking years to grow thicker skin around many issues that once devastated me, which I will discuss in detail in my book. In my newfound sobriety and clarity, raising of my planetary vibration, I see my WORK quite clearly on this planet. My book is in progress, the outline currently being drafted to submit to publishers. And my photographs over 3 plus decades of our amazing planet, focused on bodies of that necessary life element, WATER, are also being submitted to publishers for potential printing. So yes, this “mooch” is actually making a living and hopefully a mark in this lifetime as a photographer and a writer. And yes, maybe I will even have a few extra dollars in the bank for when a friend is in need! In closing this WORK HARD discussion… To those of you who have been continuously supportive of the way I live, THANK YOU EVER SO MUCH FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY BIG OLE HEART! And to my blood family members and other critics, I sure hope someday soon you will see THE LIGHT. Maybe by reading my book, things will be opened up and revealed. I simply am no longer invested in defending myself to anyone about how I live. As some wise person once said to me, “Sue, it’s none of your business what other people think or say about you!”

So, for today, on this lovely rapidly approaching Fall Maine day, on the amazing and beautiful planet earth, galaxy Milky Way, I bid you all a simply wonderful day!!! I will surely be revealing more of my images from my extraordinary, life-altering, recent journey, and snippets from my upcoming book/biography on here. Today, just for today, one day at a time, I am going to ask you to invite in the intense LIGHT energy into your hearts that is beaming our planet today. Please click here > “Christine Day, Pleidian Embassador of Light” < to have an explanation of what is transpiring planetarily energetically mainly TODAY, 9/23/17. For those of you who are not already aware, we are in the midst of an extraordinary energetic transformation. And to embody more LIGHT, we must be able to see clearly, dive into and THROUGH the darkness. As Jim Carrey said in his recent rebuttal to W Magazine about his “existentialist interview”… “The only way to it is to step into the river of tears and the sorrows of your life. The things that everyone is avoiding with everything from drugs to drink to sex and gadgets and whatever else you can distract yourself with, all of it is designed for you to never stop going and moving and, for god sakes, not feel the abyss. Don’t allow yourself to feel the abandonment and pain that you’ve suffered. And I’ve done it; I’m through it. I’m sure there will be things that happen again, but I realized that by letting myself fall into it completely, that it’s not to be feared. Death is not to be feared.” Namasté good people, NAMASTÉ!

 

Also posted in Depression, Depression, Drug Abuse, Faith, GOLDEN RULE, INSANITY OF NOW..., LIGHT, Maine life, PHOTOGRAPHY, PLEIDIANS, RECOVERY, Spiritual awakenings

THE WAY LIFE SHOULD BE

In the state of Maine – one of my favorite places on this earth, I AM AWAKE and acknowledging each and every day for what a tremendous gift it is to be alive! It’s hard not to appreciate life to the fullest in a state who’s slogan is “THE WAY LIFE SHOULD BE.” Because it truly is from top to bottom and from West to way up Down East. 🙂

Late last Saturday night, 8/19/17, when traveling South on Rt 1 to the Popham Beach area, I got pulled over by the Bath police. It didn’t surprise me because all day long I felt a tad troubled about various things and my mind was elsewhere.

That entire day, I had been in contemplation of my personal relationships and my lack of grace over the years in letting people go out of my life. This has of late been in my face in a big way. I’ve have lost some good people over the years because of my strong personality, my convictions, and yes, my staunch opinions that have often turned into judgments of others, of their political views, their self and planetary awareness, and of course, religious views. More on that later… While the officer just issued me a warning for missing the stop sign, (I realized immediately that I had missed it and pulled right on over when I saw him) it occurred to me as I was struggling with falling asleep that night that I really did need to STOP! In my experience, there is a reason the Universe puts something so excruciatingly large in one’s face. And, for me, even though I missed the actual sign, I definitely saw the bigger picture that night.

 

It wasn’t until early Sunday morning however that more was revealed to me. I awoke at 4:45 groggy after maybe 3 solid hours of sleep at best and went to hopefully catch some shots of the sunrise. It is a morning ritual while on the road and is part of the job of being a photographer. (Yes, it is a JOB, folks who question my “Life of Reilly.” At summer solstice, one must rise at 3:30 a.m. in Maine to see the sky start to lighten before the earth turns to reveal the sun on the horizon.) That morning after a few photographs, I returned to the van because the mosquitos were eating me alive. I put lavender essential oil on my bites and then laid back down with Mona and slept until 8:45. That piece of deep rest was much needed. I woke refreshed and decided not to go far, but to go get a nice parking spot at the Popham Beach State Park for the day. Many locals don’t want to pay the fee, but I felt it was well worth the $8 to have a day where we could pop the top, clean and organize for the long haul coming up to Nova Scotia. And clean I did… on many levels.

With the upcoming eclipse, I also decided that it was necessary to cleanse all my rocks, healing stones, crystals, neck pieces and myself as well. After all cleaning was said and done in the van and with my healing tools, I took myself, a few choice stones and crystals and did the ritualistic dunk in 64 degree Atlantic Ocean salt water. Man, it was REALLY cold, but it woke me up even further and I returned to Mona in the van (she doesn’t like the water) to heat up a cup of coffee dripped from earlier and meditate on what my intentions were in regards to letting of what no longer serves my highest good in this POWERFUL astrological time of the recent eclipse. The meanings behind the “darkening” by the eclipse can be multifaceted, but one philosophy Spiritually is that it is a time when the darkness of our soul is revealed clearly in essence to let it go and move further into the LIGHT. That is a sweetened condensed version of many philosophers and astrologers. Here’s a decent piece on the eclipse significance.

Since becoming clean and sober and discovering all sorts of new parts of myself each day, the part that the Universe has made me über aware of recently is my personal relationships and how I am treated and of course, how I treat others, or The Golden Rule… My mom was adamant about that one. Do unto others as you wish to have done to you. Reap what you sow… Karma… etc… So last night the BIG mirror popped up… And instead of going right to sleep that night and shrugging the events of the day off, I made a few mental notes and ruminated on what I really wanted to change about myself and my life. The following is what surfaced.

#1 Start to be more of an example of what I believe by action, not just words. I have been told that I am generally a good conversationalist, easy to talk to/with. When I travel, I meet all kinds of new people and often have long conversations. I do love to find out about people’s lives… where they hail from, what they do, believe about life, and lastly if we get that far, think about these intense changing times we are currently living in. Talk has always been a very large part of my personality and conversations come easily and naturally. My first commitment however, is to DO more, to BE more, to consciously walk my talk each and every day, to be present in a loving way for both my Mona, my friends I encounter, new encounters AND for myself. One of the fortunes I have saved from a Chinese meal says: “Action is the proper fruit of knowledge.” Seems that anyone can talk a good talk. So, I will move forward challenging myself to walk my schtick as well. What is my SCHTICK exactly? As my soul brother Ricci Barnes says, “Peace and Love, Sue. Peace and Love… So, I am definitely going to make a concerted effort in each and every moment to walk it a whole lot better.

#2 Exit Facebook for a while, if not for good. I have many reasons for this decision, but the main one is that I feel Facebook has not made me a better person, especially since the recent election. There is much I have learned being on it and I am SO grateful to have connected and reconnected with so many wonderful folks. Since joining at it’s early launch stages in 2007, I have used Facebook for most of what everyone else does while more recently engaging in “battles” over sensitive topics such as religion and politics. I have lost friends. I’ve unfriended and been unfriended. I’ve blocked and been blocked. I have raised my own blood pressure significantly. A recent post I made was taken personally by a long term friend and hence ignited a conflict that ended at 45 year friendship. ☹️ The biggest reason however for making this decision is to chip away at my ego self. My desire to live in my heart is overpowering right now and I don’t always stay in my heart on Facebook. So, a break of at least 30 continuous days is necessary I feel. If for nothing else, to break a habit that I feel is overall not very healthy. This may sound like a judgment about this form of social media, yet it is merely an observation. I feel overall we have become a VERY self-absorbed society. Also, our attention spans have been reduced to basically 2-3 seconds and I have heard it likened to the amount of time it takes to read a Facebook post or a quick text. What an absurd concept this is to me. I don’t go anywhere any longer where people are not addicted to their devices. I see far less of it up

here in Maine, yet it is still prevalent especially among younger folks. I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty specifics of what peeves me most about social media, but I will say that we have lost the art of going somewhere without our phones or needing to check for texts,  emails or Facebook or whatever every 15 minutes… So, what do I hope to achieve from a break? A deeper connection with myself and others I encounter in the 3D realm. I will update my Sue Culig Photography page on Facebook, every now and then, and will be mainly posting on Instagram because it is BIG part of what I am, a visual artist and I would like to encounter more folks who are like-minded and like visually skilled. So, to those reading this blog who are my friends on Facebook, if you want to stay connected to me, either follow my Sue Culig Photography page on Facebook, follow me on *Instagram or send me an *email please so I have your address.

*info below

#3 Let go of my judgments and soften the expression of my opinions. As I had written in my last brief blog, my life since my first trip to San Francisco at age 14 has involved many journeys, both internal and on multiple forms of transportation on a few different continents. Therefore, I feel that my experiences with many different cultures and peoples, have given me a breath of experience from which I have drawn my opinions, not hypotheses, but ACTUAL IN THE MOMENT EXPERIENCES. Still, who am I to even suggest to another what is the right or wrong way to do something or what to believe? All I can do is share my experiences and let go. I feel like this is the place to make a formal apology to those I have judged or hurt through my words and actions in the past. I am fairly aware of who and how I have hurt and wish to make an end to it!  My ego is going on a long vacation, if only for baby steps day by day. Large changes are not usually made overnight.

If I have managed to hold your attention this long, please know that I do enjoy talking on the phone. I enjoy emails. I enjoy brief texting. I mostly, I enjoy the lost art of letter writing and sending cards. Since I am on the road for possibly months to come, email and texting would be the best way to get a hold of me should you wish to do so. Please know that if you do wish still to know where I am or what is happening, I’ll be blogging here from time to time when I feel moved to do so. My email address is sueculig@gmail.com and my Instagram is @lifeisajourneynotaguidedtour. No, I won’t be joining Twitter. I don’t think what I have to do or say is all that important to need to Tweet or Facebook any longer. I really want more good old face to face human uninterrupted contact. If you wish to be added to my email list, please send me one and I will put you in my address “book.”

I wish you all an incredible journey, new experiences, new enlightenment after the complete darkness in daylight we have just recently experienced. Please think about going inside to see what you can do to make the world a better place through actions of peace and love. Some suggestions that help the collective consciousness are: recycle, reuse, use natural cleaning products on your home, cars, and person, conserve water, conserve electricity, compost, use ALL FORMS OF ALTERNATIVE ENERGY, and most importantly, do something nice for a complete stranger every now and then. It’s a great feeling. Lets work together to make the planet a place where peace and love will prevail for centuries and hopefully millenniums to come. I am committed to doing my part 🙂 Namasté ~ Sue and Mona

Also posted in Faith, GOLDEN RULE, Maine life, politics, RECOVERY, social media addiction, solar eclipse of 8/21, Spiritual awakenings

THE INSANITY OF NOW… YOUR SECRETS ARE YOUR SICKNESS

Writing for me is usually spontaneous and inspired by events and/or dreams. It’s as if I wake up one morning and the inspiration is more of a demand. Writing is also very cathartic. For this very reason, I have kept journals most of my adult life. Last time I took to the keyboard to blog was after the Orlando shootings. Granted there have been infinite topics since last year’s entry that should have commanded my derrier to sit in the chair and tap the keys. Maybe I have been speechless? hmmmm… Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows this is highly unlikely because I tend to have a burning necessity to proclaim my truth, to “Speak my mind because it hurts too much to bite my tongue!” Ironically, I am sitting here listening to Chris Cornell’s “Higher Truth” as my fingertips are busy busy. Shall I begin with musings of Chris’ life and death first? Or should it be religion? Or should it be politics? Or should it be awareness? It may all just merge together… round and round she goes… addressing topics people would much rather have their head in the sand about.

CHRIS CORNELL… AND OTHER INSPIRATIONS

There is nothing in my playlist that resembles true “grunge.” There is some Eddie Vedder from the movie “Into the Wild.” That soundtrack was mesmerizing. Eddie’s voice is hypnotic. And I won’t go into depth about what that movie meant to me. Some people think I am crazy for seeing it up to 12 times. Others have accused me of wanting to live like Chris McCandless did. Nah, truthfully, I like my creature comforts way too much! I know many lines from that epic film by heart and scenes for sure. Yes, I know when Chris starts paraphrasing Thoreau, when Rainey jabs at Chris about being an “industrious little fucker” and about the obsession, his desperate NEED to experience being in the middle of the WILD. This is where McCandless and I see eye to eye. There is NOTHING like being in the wilderness without humans to soil the serenity and rawness of it all. The scene in particular that invokes DEEP emotion each time I see it is when Chris is asked by Mr Franz (Hal Holbrook) to be his son as he is finally leaving Southern California to embark on the BIG journey North. A little aside here… back in October of 2011, I ran into Hal Holbrook at Trader Joe’s in Richmond, VA. He was not really trying to be inconspicuous, but it was difficult to recognize him as he was in his “Lincoln” character at the time. As fate would have it, I ended up directly behind him in line. As with other celebrities I have met out in public, I have never been afraid to talk with them as if they are one of us, because most of them really are unless their ego is humongous! I started the interaction with Hal by tapping him gently on the shoulder and telling him that he looked a lot like someone famous from the movies and then I winked 😉  He smiled back and reached out his hand to shake mine. I then proceeded to tell him how taken aback I had been by his role in “Into the Wild.” As the genuine and humble being that I have always assumed he was, he said, “I was completely honored to have been involved with such amazing actors and a genius director in Sean Penn.” I agreed with his assessment of Penn as a director, although when I had met Sean in San Francisco many years earlier, he struck me as a bit of a prick. He’s got a reputation to uphold.

Back to Chris, depression and addiction… There were a few songs of Chris’ that I loved and “Higher Truth” was one of my favs. I also am fond of “Seasons” and “Like A Stone.” Other than those three songs, I hadn’t known much about Chris or his life, career and/or tendencies towards severe depression. I DID know he was sober, but I didn’t know he was taking Ativan. After all, most folks who claim to be “sober” do not take dangerous and highly addictive drugs like Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, Vallium, Serax) which were developed initially to be used to assist immediately with crippling anxiety attacks, not to be taken in high doses on a daily basis.  Those drugs can also be an easy “gateway” back to alcohol. Using both in combination can be lethal. And trying to withdraw suddenly from either can also be lethal. You might ask how I know this?

CO-OCCURRING… MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION

After my mom passed away in April of 2015, I fell into a DEEP depression. I wasn’t working at all and could NOT work. (Many did not understand this and judged me and still do. And right here is my middle finger for them!) This particular period of depression AND anxiety was severe and was definitely not the first time in my life I felt this way. One of the only things I was doing was regularly attending 12 step meetings in my hometown, which most times made me want to drive directly to the store to buy a six pack afterwards. Months went by and I finally succumbed to the constant urge to drink. Depression does that. Isolation does that. Hiding your feelings does that. Your sick mind gives you this great idea that you can escape how horrible you are feeling. Sure, that’s true for a few hours, until you wake up the next morning feeling like suicidal hammered dog shit. I can’t remember when I REALLY lost my sobriety again in 2015, (I’d been at it since March of 2010) but I suspect it was around mid September of ’15. I just remember going to California to pick up Moby the VW van and drinking rather socially there and on the drive back to NY as well. I feel like the relapse could be another blog entirely, but what I will just segue here by saying is that severe depression is not just a “bad attitude,” “negative thinking,” or something that one just get’s over by “pulling ones self up by the bootstraps.” Clinical depression and mental illness are VERY serious diseases that are crippling and debilitating at times. My very close friends who have saved me from intentionally overdosing or jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, know this about me and the disease I have struggled with for many years; having remembered my first major depressive episode around 7 years old. Nonetheless, eventually we will find out exactly what happened with Chris Cornell. For now, I can testify from my own personal use AND abuse of Ativan, (sometimes up to 6 mgs per day) that it is NOT a drug to be messed with. Withdrawal is excruciating at times and often people develop suicidal thoughts or hallucinations and/or both. During my attempted withdrawal while having been in the supervision of someone who knew very little about withdrawal from benzos, it was suggested when my drugs ran out that I should “tough it out” and “buck up and get through it” if I truly wanted to get off of them fast and forever. If that person only knew what it felt like in my skin and in my brain, they never would have said that. I knew abrupt withdrawal was definitely not the way to get off of them, but I certainly wasn’t thinking clearly and attempted to appease the person who’s company I was in. After three days, going from 3 mg down to nothing, I “toughed it out” alright… right to the ER after 3 nights of insomnia, hallucinations, hot and cold sweats, trembling uncontrollably and feeling extremely suicidal. I couldn’t sleep, eat, drive, or see straight. I sobbed hysterically for hours and used an entire box of Kleenex. Everything I EVER felt negatively about myself, my life, my intimate relationships, was playing right in front of my face on an enormous screen in high definition technicolor with surround sound and looping to boot. I also was in danger of a stroke, seizure, heart attack or all 3. Immediately upon arrival, the ER doc gave me a 2mg injection, and supervised me until I was stable enough to leave. They sent me away with an emergency Rx to get “the devil drug” back in my system until I could find help to properly detox from it. My next step which needed to be accomplished rapidly, was to find an outpatient program and a substance abuse/mental health counselor as well as an MD who would help me withdraw, regularly urine test me, and NOT up my dosage each time I asked like my old doctor did. Needless to say, she is not my MD any longer. Someone was definitely watching over me, (mom) because everything I needed for treatment fell right into place in a mere matter of days. During the withdrawal process, it is suggested that one tapers down VERY slowly because the side effects are brutal. Each time I lowered my dose, I felt the agitation, the irritation, the physical side effects of profuse sweating and palpitating heart etc. Breathing deeply works for a spell. Exercise works ok too. Magnesium L-Threonate and 5HTP at bedtime in HIGH doses works a bit for the insomnia which ensues. Each time I lowered my dose, usually by .25 mg a script, I went through “little pergatory” for a spell before feeling somewhat “normal” or stabilized. My Ativan was initially prescribed much like I assume Cornell’s was, to assist in the withdrawal from alcohol and the anxiety and depression that went along with it. The problem is that the drug is HIGHLY addictive and I should never have been taking more than .5 mg and ONLY when I experienced intense anxiety. During that horrific attempted “cold turkey” withdrawal, I could have wound up like Cornell, but I had the help of incredible professionals and a great support system that has very little to do with traditional recovery or the 12 steps to help me get back on track. The 12 steps have saved lots of lives, but the question is… Aren’t they a bit outdated? Same meetings, same literature, same format, same people, same stories looping over and over again… Needless to say, I’m happy to be pursuing a new career in the recovery field and am pleased to see how it is evolving from archaic ideas that once convinced folks that they were powerless and had to surrender to “God” to help kick their addictions, to a new form of EMPOWERING people to NOT be powerless over anything. Sorry to all you AA-ers, but it never worked for me and now I understand exactly why. Maybe it never worked for Chris Cornell either. My hope is that we are moving into a new age of holistic recovery where safe/recovery houses (that charge 1400 per month to share a small room) and traditional rehabs (that are similar to jails, attempting to brainwash both mentally and physically sick souls into wellness in 30 days) are going to be a thing of the past. Could it be possible that we are moving into a new age where mental illness AND addiction are no longer going to be stigmatized or considered illegitimate health issues? They are probably two of the most serious diseases that get shelved time and again because they have to do with our brain’s function. As a woman friend said in a meeting I attended last week, “If I was sitting here telling a room full of strangers that I was recovering from breast cancer, I would get all kinds of sympathy and love. But here I am saying that I have mental health issues and addiction problems and I am potentially open to being publicly scorned!” Point here??? Recovery IS recovery whether it’s from cancer OR mental health issues and/OR addiction. Depression and addiction are both epidemics of insane proportions in our society and country and they are still being largely ignored… THIS MUST CHANGE QUICKLY IF WE ARE TO SAVE LIVES!

onto more of “THE INSANITY OF NOW”

I don’t know what was going on astrologically in the last 48 hours, but some really whacko shit happened yesterday for sure. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a TRUTH seeker in ALL aspects of my life. Religion or “faith” is often a touchy subject, but politics is NOT, nor should it ever be something “private” for one’s decision to vote, and candidate of choice, effect every single one of us as well as the entire world! I believe many who voted for the garbage currently in office are embarrassed to admit any longer that they did. Those who are still defending 45 are either in denial, delusional and/or #foxnewswashed. More on that particular insanity later… On the topic of religion (some call it faith) my deviation from Catholicism and/or Christianity began about 40 years ago during my evening studies to prepare to make my confirmation after I left Catholic grade school. I told my mother that if she sent me to Catholic high school that she would never see me again, that I would run away and NEVER come back. Recollecting as far back to my first communion, I can remember thinking… “Why am I eating this round thing pretending that it is part of someone’s body?” My parents and peers knew I was a smart child, but my rebellion began when I was asked to confirm my belief in THE messiah. Nope, not me… Don’t ask me exactly why, but I just knew in my gut and my heart that I would rather be skipping my religious education classes and toking a spliff with Larry R behind St Bernadettes. My mother didn’t speak to me for 4 months when I pulled out of confirmation. It was the beginning of an earnest Spiritual quest that continues to be an educational journey each and every day. (If you really want to know about my Spiritual beliefs and about “experiencing God” you’ll have to wait for my blog about being in “church” with the Native Americans in a sundown to sunrise teepee peyote ceremony in Oregon in the summer of 1999. It changed my life FOREVER! If I ever doubted there was a spiritual world beyond this one, I absolutely no longer do.) Basically, for the sake of ending this blog and sticking to the point I am trying to make, I believe in the ENERGY of the Universe that responds to our thoughts and actions to create our reality. I believe in karma. I’m not big on the word prayer, but I do believe in positive thought and sending LIGHT to others when they are in need. Call it prayer if you want to, but prayer connotes religion and I simply don’t do an organized one of those. My belief is that the sooner we start taxing churches, the sooner we will be able to provide health care for everybody, which I believe in today’s modern society should be a right, not a privilege.

Here’s the thing with “faith” – believe anything you want in regards to religion/faith, but #1, just be a good person, damnit. Obey the golden rule and please don’t ever tell me that what I believe is bullshit and I will return the favor. I’ve learned to keep my staunch opinions a bit to myself on this ONE topic! 😉  Last but not least, PLEASE don’t ever try to convince me that something you believe is what I should be believing! As I mentioned to a dear, very long time friend last night, we might all have different ways to get to the LIGHT. We might call the LIGHT different things. But in the end, the LIGHT is LOVE and IMO, GOD IS LOVE. Therefore, my religion is LOVE. My religion is KINDNESS. My religion is TRUTH. And just for the record, the flow chart of determining religions posted on my Facebook yesterday was meant for a chuckle. My most sincere apologies if anyone was offended by it.

TRYING TO COVER UP THE TRUTH ISN’T WORKING ANY LONGER

Last night I had a very heated and reactionary debate with someone who I love a lot that told me to “get a life” when I started talking about the 1% and the corruption in our Republic. (BTW folks, we are NOT a Democracy, we are a REPUBLIC that is SUPPOSED to be run in a democratic fashion.) At least that is how our forefathers intended it to be. Anyway, when the topic of 911 came up and it being an inside job, I was accused of being “crazy.” So be it… bat shit crazy for the TRUTH is what I am! Those buildings were ALL detonated on 911 and there are over 2000 engineers world wide who have testified to this, especially building #7! [Google it if you have the nerve to maybe have your mind altered and blown! Here’s a quick video for starters… 911 Truth Video Can Not Be Debunked.] Say whatever you want about my sanity, but I base my views on FACTS and what I feel in my GUT to be TRUE. If you choose to, it’s your prerogative to stay in the dark, listen to the mass media and to our government telling lie after lie… IN MY OPINION, it’s totally your loss to live behind the veil. If ignorance is bliss, then so be it for the one who refuses to ask questions where questions SHOULD be asked. I’d rather know the ugly TRUTH and get pissed off than hide my head in the sand! The war after 911 made a lot of the 1% a hell of a lot more wealthy. Crazy? I don’t think so. Human life over $/oil? Nope, remember that Michael Jackson song, “They Don’t Really Care About Us?” Bingo! that is our government. As the dearly departed George Carlin once said, “QUESTION EVERYTHING!”

Ok, nearing an ending on this one. Reflecting on the last two days, maybe my internal unrest and exterior conflict on this was triggered by watching the miniseries “The People v OJ Simpson – An American Crime Story.” If anyone hasn’t seen it yet, it is gripping and truth telling and spine chilling. Anyone who has known me since childhood knows that I was a huge “Juice” fan when he played for Buffalo. In 1975, my brother-in-law took a beautiful portrait of OJ in the locker room with a nappy head after just removing his helmet. He enlarged it and took it back the next home game for OJ to personally autograph it for me. It was matted and framed and gifted to me on my 11th birthday. It read “to Susie, all my best, OJ Simpson #32.” I still have it packed away somewhere, although I really don’t know why because the knowledge that he got away with BRUTAL murder makes me want to vomit to this day. To have watched my childhood idol and his attorneys lie their asses off and pull a race card to get him off, while somehow being able to sleep at night, reminds me much of what is currently going on in our “government” except on a MUCH larger and horribly corrupt scale. The American people will continue to be victims of the murder of our civil liberties until #WETHEPEOPLE get out there and take this government down. I’m not just talking about impeachment, I am talking about a total 2 party abolishment and a government that WORKS FOR THE PEOPLE, not just the 1%.

OK, off my soapbox now… To answer the looming question, I am still sober and intend to live out the remainder of my life as such and hopefully help others come back from the abyss of mental health issues and addiction. They do go hand in hand 95% of the time. Feel free to leave ANY comments or opinions if you wish. Rest assured “The Insanity of 45” is coming soon 🙂  Namasté


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