The Cook Awakening

Archive for the ‘Integrating Lifestyle Changes’ Category

Welcome to 2020!

January 9, 2020
Posted in: Events, Integrating Lifestyle Changes, Life on Life's Terms, Seasonal Change, Spiritual Practice

It’s a big time. Can you feel it? It’s obvious on the planetary level, so much conflict and structures breaking down politically and environmentally.

Most people that I talk to, clients, friends, and family, are experiencing the last year as being a time of deconstruction in many ways. Some examples include:

༄ Feeling like identity is breaking apart
༄ Loved ones dying
༄ Relationships ending
༄ Important events being canceled for reasons beyond their control
༄ Being assailed by doubts about whether what’s really desired is possible
༄ Feeling betrayed by loved ones
༄ Deeply understanding that patterns of being (jobs, relationships, living situations) are totally unsustainable, and not knowing what to do about it

It can feel like trying to pick up sand or water with your hands and having it just run through your fingers.

There are astrological influences that are at play right now that have been effecting the last year or more. I want to give a shout out to Emily Trinkaus who explains it all far better than I can. Here’s a recording of her class describing the Pluto-Saturn conjunction that’s happening on Sunday, January 12th, and will be felt for a few days, and will lay in energies that will last 35 + years, and this is her class on the Cancer full moon lunar eclipse happening tomorrow, Friday, January 10th.

Changing Identity

August 18, 2019
Posted in: Grief, Integrating Lifestyle Changes, Life on Life's Terms, Living with Health Challenges

My family just arrived back from a 2400 mile road trip down through California to visit dear friends and family from the north to the south of the state. And, we swung through Yosemite on our way home, just for fun.

Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park.

I used to identify as someone who LOVED road trips. I traveled solo from California to Colorado more than once. From California to Wisconsin with my ex-husband. I made it from California to New York in 2 days with a crazy group of roommates once, driving straight through. (Something, by the way, I do not recommend. I’m grateful to be alive.)

Youth is a time of natural resilience. It’s one of the reasons that many chronic illnesses aren’t diagnosed until a bit later in life. The signs might be there, but the fact of being young often makes it possible to miss them.

I’m not young anymore. Being in my later 50s brings a number of differences in my capacity to manage a changing environment. Different beds every few days. Hours in the confined space of the car. No routines to rest into. I end up grumpy, overwhelmed… and my body hurts.

Come Home

July 14, 2019
Posted in: Events, Integrating Lifestyle Changes, Life on Life's Terms, Meditation, Spiritual Practice

I had two very similar sessions with different clients last week. They were overwhelmed by the requirements of their lives — personal relationships, work, … so many responsibilities. They weren’t sleeping enough, weren’t eating well, drinking more alcohol than felt healthy, ending up spending hours feeling incapacitated by exhaustion. Going in 6 directions at once.

I stated what seemed obvious to me – that how their lives were going wasn’t sustainable. And, I heard some version of:

“But, how can I rest when everyone needs me? I can’t stop!”

One had an edge of panic in her voice. I felt it. It broke my heart. The other was just more mystified. There really didn’t seem to be any other possibility than how life was unfolding.

A beautiful balancing act.

Then, Friday evening, after spending an hour washing dishes, after a week of my husband being out of town and me with a full client load, I found myself shouting at my kids to come help me clean the kitchen.

Not a stellar parenting moment. For which I have apologized, although I am happy it allowed me to leave the kitchen and sit myself down for a few minutes. I’m not sorry I asked for help, just not thrilled with how I went about it.

Sometimes, we have to break down a bit to realize that how we’re going about something isn’t working.


June 9, 2019
Posted in: Events, Integrating Lifestyle Changes, Life on Life's Terms, Living with Health Challenges, Meditation, Spiritual Practice

Sovereign, adj
1. possessing supreme or ultimate power
2. enjoying autonomy

As women, in general, we are taught from an early age to be more aware of other people’s feelings than our own. It’s how we learned to stay safe, to navigate sometimes very dangerous waters.

As a result, we often aren’t fully aware of how we feel in any given moment. Our antennae are always up, sensing the environment. Even when it’s relatively safe, the habit is so ingrained, we’re still scanning our surroundings for possible hazards in other’s behavior. We often defer to our partners’, employers’, friends’, or children’s needs without even thinking about it.

This long standing habit of hyper arousal and leaving ourselves out of the equations of our lives has a myriad of outcomes — chronic illness, loss of income, depression and anxiety, and lack of meaningful connection with other human beings, to name a few.

We are embedded in the structure of society. We live in a template of hierarchies, implicit and explicit, that can keep us from the connection we all need on a cellular level.

Can you feel yourself as distinct from the background of your life?

I have found that it’s not enough to understand this mentally, to have the mechanics of “The Patriarchy” or “White Supremacy” mapped out on the cognitive level, although that’s incredibly important. We do need to have our rational minds engaged to help us feel safe to do deeper work.

If we stop there, though, we often get stuck in anger. Anger is important, it helps us get unstuck. It helps us define what’s not working. It’s an important step in discernment. But, if we never move through anger, there’s growth we might not experience.


February 7, 2019
Posted in: Grief, Integrating Lifestyle Changes, Life on Life's Terms, Living with Health Challenges, Spiritual Practice

I hear it often. “I want to do more in my life. I want to go deeper. But, when I try, I end up feeling overwhelmed and I can’t do anything!”

Whether you have a diagnosis or not, often our expectations and desires are more than our bodies can live up to. You’ve probably heard the saying, “Your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash!” (Originally from the film Top Gun.)

When you live with a health challenge, or are grieving a loss, things are different than for most of the people you know who have busy lives and seem to keep up just fine. Yes, acceptance of that fact is a good thing to aspire to. But, “acceptance” often ends up looking like a kind of dreary resignation when it’s on the ground running. Where’s the joy in that?

Nuitie Sweetie a few minutes after death

Our beloved Nuit, a 15 year old kitty, died a couple of weeks ago. She was not a flashy, smart, energetic cat. She was sweet, compliant, sometimes grumpy, and full of purrs when she was snuggled. And, she had a few chronic health conditions. Her thyroid was over active, she had arthritis in her shoulders, she had high blood pressure (probably related to her thyroid condition). And, more recently, something was putting pressure on her lungs, probably either a mass or fluid build up around her heart. In the end, her breathing pattern was more like panting than anything.

End of Summer

August 26, 2015
Posted in: Events, Health and Nutrition, Integrating Lifestyle Changes, Life on Life's Terms, Living with Health Challenges, Seasonal Change

Ahhh, summer winding down. I just returned from a blissful and much needed 2 weeks of relaxation on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, after working quite a bit harder than I could really handle gracefully for a number of weeks.

Winnipesaukee Sunset

Winnipesaukee Sunset

I wish I could say that my self-care is always perfect, but I’d be lying through my teeth. Sometimes, life demands what it demands, and the best I can do is surrender to what needs to be done. Goddess Gather was a great success, and I have no regrets. But, my health is still too fragile to support the kind of hard work required to put on an event of the scope and complexity of the vision we hold for the Gather.