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Jolinda “Josi” Case is a Spiritual Counselor who uses Tarot and Astrology (among other tools) as forms of divination. She is an avid and vigorous student of the esoteric. Josi has a great deal of experience in assisting people through major life changes such as death/dying/grief through counseling.

Josi’s main motivation is to empower others by assisting them to connect with and express their most true and authentic self. She also strives to give people the authority to feel comfortable in the pursuit of their personal Spirituality.

Josi’s formal education includes collegiate level degrees in Communications, Business and Psychology. She is also an ordained minister. In her free time (HA!), she writes a weekly column for her local paper (The Greenup Beacon), blogs on her site Shock Therapy and relaxes with her husband (“Ox”), three grown boys, two grandsons and pets (Prince, Mercury and Perseus).
 
Most recently, Josi has bonded forces with Dixie Vogel of A Fool's Journey to produce a monthly show they call Woo Woo Wonderful. The purpose of the live broadcast is to empower others with knowledge of Spirit and Mysticism.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Set it free


Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello and Raphael. Do you recognize that list of names? What if I add in Shredder?

If you are around the same age as me, or if you have children my age, chances are you will recognize that grouping of names from a cartoon called, “The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Or, it could be you recognize it because you have young children now. I believe the show is attempting a comeback of sorts.

But, these were the actual names I gave to my pet turtles that my husband and I rescued nearly two years ago.

Donatello
 
 

The first four were stink pot turtles. That is an actual type of turtle. You can look it up. Shredder had only been with us for a year. He was an alligator snapping turtle.

During their time with us, they lived in an elaborate 40 gallon breeder fish tank that had caves and bridges that we constructed for them out of river stones.

When I would tell people that we had a pet snapping turtle, they would just look at me in disbelief. Especially since this type of turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in the world. However, our Shredder was barely the size of my fist when we found him.

Of course, during the course of a year, Shredder had more than doubled in size. He looked pretty ferocious. I don't think he realized this.

All five of these little guys were surprisingly friendly. My entire family was extraordinarily attached to them. They would beg for food like puppies. It's as if they could hear the clicking sounds when you opened their food container. At which point, they would crawl out of their respective caves and stretch their incredibly long necks to the surface of the water in anticipation.

Donatello, the largest stink pot of the bunch, would sun himself on top of the caves and stretch his neck out so I could pet him.

It was an incredible experience. But, we've always known that they couldn't stay with us forever.

The idea was to keep them until they were big enough to be safely released at a pond on my father's farm.
 
 


When Shredder was so big that he was carrying part of the cave rocks around on his back, we knew it was time. The 40 gallon tank seemed to shrink drastically as the turtles grew. They were healthy. The weather was warming back up.

As we were gathering them up and securing them safely for transport, I was constructing a million excuses in my mind why we should not let them go. I thought, the weather is consistently warm; they will have trouble finding food; they are too tame; we could keep them for a few more months. Never in my life did I imagine that I would have felt so attached.

However, there were also reasons that kept creeping back in my heart to let me know that releasing them would be the right thing to do. They deserved freedom. They deserved to find mates and to live out their turtle adult lives like turtles were meant to do. They deserved a great big body of water and multiple places to make a home.

Needless to say, I was conflicted.

Sometimes, when we care for something or someone, we want to protect them. We want to shelter them and keep them safe. We want to provide everything they need. We want to keep them in confines of security for as long as we can. Rarely does it occur to us that this is really a selfish thing. We make personal sacrifices in order to provide this safe environment and in our guts we feel as if it is all done out of love. And, I'm not saying that isn't.

But, here's the thing, when we do this we rob the thing/person we love of the right to live freely. We rob them of independence. We rob them of experience.

You've heard the adage, “If you love something, set it free.” Well, it's a lot like that. Except, that “something” or “someone” never fell under our possession to begin with.

 

Sure, there are times when people and things may need to be dependent upon others for their very survival. This is the state that we originally found the turtles in. But, our task, as caregivers, is not to think that span of time means that we are in possession. It means that we are helpers. To help in a situation like this, is to assist in readying someone (or thing) to eventually care for themselves and subsequently gain independence.

The scary part is once they reach the stage of independence, they also gain the right to make mistakes, encounter dangers, and be hurt. But, in these mistakes, dangers, hurts lie some of the most precious gems of life, as hard as it is to understand.

We did release the turtles. We said our goodbyes and I probably cried more than I should have. Then, we lined them up at the edge of this beautiful pond and watched as they each took steps toward the water on their own.

The water was shallow enough at the edge that we could see how they would react. It was if they had just entered Turtle Disneyland. I cried some more. But, the weight of my tears were offset by the knowledge that they would now live freely. The depth of my fears about them getting sick or hurt was balanced by the heights of living I knew they would experience.

In life, we truly own nothing. We certainly do not “have” people or living things. We only cross paths for a blessed and sometimes short amount of time. And then, that time moves on.
 
(From L to R) Shredder, Raphael, Donatello, Michelangelo, Leonardo right before finding their way to the pond.
 


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Chop wood; Carry water


Self-created drama.




Know anything about it?



I could, right now, (with a rather straight face) type out that I've observed the phenomena but never been an active participant. It would be a lie. But, I could type it out.

I have seen a lot of this lately.



I don't talk much about world events. Frankly, because I think we hear the same stuff sliced in different ways over and over and...well...it's enough, already. Right? But, unless you live in a cave (which doesn't sound all that bad to me at this point), you know it's been a crazy couple of weeks on the world stage. Has it not?



Ironically, someone asked me “How is it that you stay so calm in the middle of all this?”



Me? Calm? That's a cute concept. But, I have been. And, it's because I've realized, whether something goes horribly wrong or wonderfully right, in the grand scheme of things it really does not matter.

It really doesn't. Next week there will be something else to get all torn up about if you choose to do so.



The week after that, there will be something else.



Sure, you may remember the events of the past few weeks for many, many years to come. You probably won't have a choice because there will be media reminders at every anniversary check point. There will be debates among your colleagues for days and weeks to come. But allowing yourself to become entangled and entrapped in the overflow of emotional aspects of something that you have no control over is a big fat waste of time and energy.



So, what do you do?




A friend of mine has this saying, “Chop wood, carry water.”



In essence, what that means is, “Life goes on.” And, it does have a tendency to do that. You have to do what you have to do. You have to take care of those mundane every day tasks. You incorporate what is happening around you. You adjust when you need to. You help when you can. You pray. But, at the end of the day, you still have to feed the children, give the dog a bath, wash the dishes and chop the wood and carry the water. This is much more effectively dealt with if you haven't spent all your energy trying to figure out something that makes absolutely no sense to begin with.



There are instances, however, where people feel like they must react to something. Or, it may be that they feel they need something to react to.



What happens is they are chopping their wood and carrying their water and they get bored. Or, they become antsy. Things have been too routine for too long. The other shoe is bound to drop. The anticipation of something exploding in their own personal sphere becomes intolerable. So, they (consciously or unconsciously) create their own explosion. Viola! Self-created drama.



 

In the defense of some, this can be a habit that a person is not really aware of. For example, if you grew up in a household or live in an environment where things would be calm for a few days and then BAM something crazy and unexpected happens, then this pattern of “calm before the storm” becomes in grained in your psyche. When the calm days come, you begin to expect the impending explosion. As I said, the anticipation of something like that happening (whether it truly is coming or not) can be unbearable.



Even though this person is not in that type of environment anymore, they may blow up their job to ease the anticipation. I mean figuratively here. As in, the person may do something to cause them to lose their job. Typically, said person already has a scapegoat lined up to blame the events on---other than themselves.



Or, they may create drama in their primary relationships. They could start needless arguments with their significant other. They might become belligerent with their parents. They might stir up gossip or controversy among their friends.



Creating these little dramas eases some of the anticipation of waiting for something to happen since they know it inevitably will. What it does (besides foster a sense of relief or release) is give them a small sense of control over their environment.



But, I've learned that the greater sense of control comes over that which you foster within yourself. I control how I feel and when I feel it. I don't have to be nervous when things are going smoothly. I can actually enjoy that they are going smoothly. If the other shoe drops, I will deal with it when and if it happens. And, a year or so from now, I really won't mourn the missed opportunity of self-implosion. Instead, I will be happy that I cruised right along chopping the wood and carrying the water while conserving the rest of my energy for things I actually enjoy.



I spoke with someone this past week who has this very habit. It typically manifests in her relationships. She grew up in a very changeable and sometimes volatile environment. So, when a relationship is going well she gets all freaky and starts doing things to shake it up. Of course, this was not her fault. It was always the other person's fault. But, I think once I told her that she had the ability to steer the direction of what was going on she was a bit surprised.



Of course, you aren't going to realize something like this if you never realize that you are accountable for what is happening in your life in the first place.



Yes, I realize that takes some of the fun (ie: adrenaline rush, reward of attention seeking behavior, emotional turmoil to discuss amongst your friends) out of it. But, in the long run, you are going to enjoy still having those relationships, if you don't explode them, more than sitting around alone on your couch on a Saturday night remembering how things just sort of crumbled.



The ability to make sense of what goes on around you comes when you realize what part you play in it. The control over your environment comes when you control your interaction with it. The freedom is born when you stop letting past experience dictate how you live the rest of your life. Learn from it. Figure out where you want to go from here and what you want to change. Then, chop wood and carry water. Love the routine (while you can) and the rewards it brings.
 
 
 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Red Geraniums


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to meet the Queen of Pentacles? I've met her. It was quite the experience. I learned a lot.



About twelve years ago, I worked as a Home Health Aide. It was an interesting job. However, I found that providing care to someone directly in their home was a lot different than providing care to someone in a facility.



There are good and bad sides of both. For example, in a home environment, you have a tendency to become entrenched in the person’s personal life. You meet their children, siblings, neighbors, mailman..you get the idea.



Again, this can be good or bad. In my experience, what it fostered, on the whole, was either an extremely close relationship between care provider and receiver. Or, the reaction would be just as extreme in the reverse.



Most of the time, when someone is receiving home care, they need only minimal assistance with activities of daily living. You are a true assistant; you are not giving total care. Socialization is key here. And, that becomes part of your job. For me, it was my favorite part. I liked getting to know people on their turf. I enjoyed meeting their extended family and sometimes being welcomed into that fold even if it was only for a short period of time.



I worked for a lady whom I’ll call Abigail. She was divorced and a mother of 4 children at a time when people didn’t just get divorced. Marriage was more of a necessity then. But, that’s a rant for a different day.



I listened to Abigail's stories about being the only single mother in a small town. A lot of it sounded like excerpts from The Scarlet Letter. Some of the judgment, snide comments and down right vile reactions her lifestyle generated were amazing. Yet, she endured. And, she was able to laugh about it later.



Needless to say, Abigail was a very strong lady. She was also a very particular and stubborn lady. When it came to helping her clean house or do laundry, I learned very quickly that I knew nothing. I learned this because she often told me.



She re-taught me how to iron clothes after she nearly busted a gut laughing at my initial attempts. “Didn’t anybody ever teach you how to do that?” She’d say. And, I’d tell her, “Probably. But, I don’t pay attention much.” Then, she’d start dictating instructions.

She was never mean about it. I think she actually liked it. I’m sure she thought, “Poor little girl. If she would have had those two kids of hers in my time, she never would have made it.” And, she was probably right. It amazes me that she came through it and a major war basically unscathed and toting a healthy family of five to boot!



Not only was it amazing to me that this lady didn’t have a nervous breakdown given her life circumstances, but, she also was very active socially and within the community. Due her children, she was active in the school system. She was a member of the city’s gardening club, bridge club, book club and had an extensive list of personal friends. At about 80 years old, she was still involved with all of these. By the way, if you have never seen a group of ladies this age play bridge, you are seriously missing out.



The first Mother’s Day I spent with Abigail, she met me at her door in her wheelchair with a small spade shovel and a pair of gardening gloves. It was 7 AM.



Now, I love playing in the dirt. But, I don’t love doing anything until about 9 or 10 AM. So, the grimace on my face that said, “I’m not even done with my coffee or making your breakfast yet” cued her to give me more details.



“The boys will be bringing my geraniums today. Red ones and white ones. I’m not going to be able to plant them in the pots this year. So, when they come, I’m going to act all excited and tell you to plant them right away.

“Last year, I let them sit on the porch in their original containers. They died. The boys thought they had done something wrong. I couldn’t tell them I couldn’t physically plant them anymore.”



Apparently the boys had been buying geraniums for her on Mother’s Day since they moved into this town. There was a place that sold them really cheap around Mother’s Day.



The boys had saved up money from the Tooth Fairy and odd jobs they had done in the neighborhood in order to buy them for her their first year here. She said they were so proud of themselves that she didn’t have the heart to tell them that she wasn’t particularly fond of geraniums. “But,’ she said, “that was ok because now they are my favorite annual.”



The boys came and after I planted the flowers for her, snickering as she played out the request exactly as she said she would, the boys walked around like peacocks once again priding themselves in their perfect gift for Mother’s Day. Unbeknownst to them, it had nothing to do with the flowers.



That summer, I learned that when you dead-head geraniums, you do so at the joint on the stem. The joint looks a bit like a little round ball that joins the flower stalk to the main stem. I learned you DO NOT get water on the leaves because if you do they turn brown. And, I learned that people can survive and flourish in just about any circumstance as long as they think they can and they have a little love.