Micro-choices and exploring my new town in the American South

I was on the ground, trying to change my license plate. But I didn’t have an Allen key on my Leatherman, the one-for-all toolkit the size of a Swiss Army knife. “Bugger,” I thought. So I went across the unbusy highway to the small town hardware store on the other side. I stood at the register, thinking, “I wonder what they make of me?” as I bought the right tool. I wondered how many other heavily tattooed independent women showed up in the store. I started telling the older fella behind the counter my story about how I moved here to nowheresville Ohatchee, Alabama on a whim, eschewing my original home destination of the Hudson Valley in New York.

“NY’s dumb rules around trailers and tiny home living mean I can’t legally live in my trailer there. I was was gonna wing it and figure it out as I go.”
“Well, girl, welcome to Ohatchee. You can do anything you want here.” He smiled a toothy smile through his beard and I swooned.
But he didn’t say much of my attitude and self-righteousness, even though it preceded me. If I were in New York, I might have gagged. I might have thought, “Who are you to say, ‘Well, girl’?!” and made some snide remark like, “Don’t ‘girl’ me, girl.” Or, my ego would have fallen flat for lack of reaction. Or, I would have simply walked out of the store.

Except that, there is more to explore here.


The past interfaces with the present here. I have the right to pursue freedom and happiness, but this right is transgressive when it pulls on the strings of interconnectedness–of history, of beliefs, of rights across time and space. And the truth is that everyone has the right to pursue freedom and happiness, but the reality is our stories are different. How do we hold both sides?

There’s lot to notice in this town. This man’s kind, country attitude is different from the clench-jawed and impersonal interactions I have in larger cities. The sharper details (to me) like the Confederate flags flying on the porches of some of the houses in town. I felt my own jaw clenching when I first saw them. The large tracts of veteran graveyards (with sites bearing people from all of the wars since the inception of the United States to recent conflicts in the Middle East) that flank country roads. My stomach always turns into knots, sensing that somehow I ride through the dirty secret of the American military complex when in a small town in The South. The Gadsden flag that adorns some Alabama license plates bearing the motto “Don’t tread on me.” It’s a bucket of ice water thrown onto my open, fiery heart. The kindness I encounter here is wrapped in a barbed wire. The sharp bits tear at my rose-colored view of the world that I can find connection with anyone. The flags, the graves, the “Don’t tread on me” are battle cries. War and acts of territorial pissings are the American ancestral inheritance. We are not free until we are free from that. But how?

As I made the short drive to a park in town, I steeped in these images, then the houses with tin roofs and shirtless men working on their dusty pickup trucks, past the abandoned town center with a row of wood buildings next to a railroad track, past a dirty white dog chained to a tree from which also hung a tire swing. I thought of throwing off living in a place like New York that has rules and regulations for every facet of life. Here, there are few. I’m still not sure if “country” is the same as “The South,” but after telling locals Imoved here, I am often met with smiles and “Welcome to The South”—and an air of mystery. Admittedly, I think I’ve stepped into some magical realism world, a secret that those in my native North can listen to through telling here—but they can’t really hear it; they don’t know how I feel or what it feels like to be here.

Freedom goes further than just where I live—I’ve got the privilege of being location-independent for work, so I literally can log on and make money online as long as I have a power source and internet signal.
I smiled at myself, thinking that I’d love to get a Gadsden flag plate. I stand for what it stands for on paper: Revolution. Freedom. Rebelliousness.

Janey Furnace Civil War and Native American Museum and Interpretive Center in Ohatchee, Alabama

Later that day, I pulled into the parking lot of the Janey Furnace Civil War and Native American Museum and Interpretative Center. There’s a short, paved trail that my dog loves to walk. She goes off leash, of course. She had bounded off into the woods, and I waited for her to return from her own flight of freedom (knowing she’d come back). A concrete Confederate soldier about three feet tall stood just ahead of me. His bayonet and Southern uniform brought the Civil War right to my face. In free association, I saw the following stream of images in my mind: Black men and women and children picking cotton, white men in penguin suit jackets in a northern city laughing in a room built buy exploitative labor practices, women and children crying watching brother fight brother. These words came up: Secession. Westward expansion. The right to live free.

I texted a friend, a New York City-area transplant to the Catskill Mountains and Hudson Valley, the place that I opted to not return to. Nick is a well read, politically opinionated, child-free musician who, at mid-life, is bound only by what he chooses to be bound. His personal life reflects his values. He makes meaning of his life as he goes. I’d say he’s the consummate city-boy-turned-country Northerner.

“But what does it even mean to be country?” I asked him. “I’m physically out in the middle of nowhere, and people keep telling me I belong here. And I’m happy. But I just don’t know how to make sense of The South. I mean, can I be happy in a place where some people still think the Civil War was an undue loss? Don’t answer that.”

I looked at the statue of the soldier and continued walking. I approached a metal sign that leaned crooked and was covered with some dust or grit or time. It was a sign I ignored on a previous walk until I realized it was at the base of a flagpole. The sign read the following: Remove your hat off when you pass this flag. A massive Confederate flag flew from the top.

Sign and Confederate flag

I gasped. It was a moment in which the confidence and surety of my belief dissipated—that the North won the war and that was it. A deeply held belief that the North had won and there was no use lingering in the past suddenly burned hot in my belly. I didn’t know how I felt about it, except that I felt for my hand lifting my hat.

Later that afternoon, I texted Nick: “Hey—Gadsden flag on my license plate. Or nah?”
“NO. It’s been co-opted.”

My previously held perspective of the South—that it’s full of rednecks and Trumpers* and backwards ways of living, united by Southern country culture stuck in the atomic retro women-belong-in-the-kitchen–type attitude—was upended. It’s one of those beliefs that is built-in, culled from years of living in the North and following the narratives in popular media. Had I not had direct experience with the South, including witnessing and being honest with my embodied reactions while here, that embedded perspective might have never changed.

When I’m in a place that is new to me, a game of observation and comparison emerges. To make sense of my thoughts, I’ll list them out.
Yes, I lifted my hat when I passed the flag. It’s less out of respect for the Confederate idea than it is for the code. If I attend a Hindu temple, I wear pants and cover my hair. I don’t engage my feminist-AF personality. I want to be as much a part (to the extent that I don’t invalidate rites or rituals with austerity rules that are specific to the culture) as possible.

Traveling is the seed of colonialism, which now appears as colonialism 2.0—gentrification. There’s no gentrification here in Ohatchee, my adopted hometown. I hear people talk about development and more houses, but there’s no swarm of people wanting to descend upon this place because artists and workers gave it a rich culture and hands-on local economy and infrastructure. It’s just not cool enough here, and I like that. But I have been part of the problem when traveling around the world, lured by a place that has a lot of “culture” to imbibe. But often, it’s culture for white people and people who can chose to move around. I am a well read, politically opinionated, child-free person who, at mid-life, is bound only by what I choose to be bound. My personal life reflects my values.

There’s no fucking way out. Someone is going to be offended by me, and I am going to question everything I encounter here.

When Nick replied that the Gadsden flag had been co-opted, he meant the symbology had been swarmed by people who were rednecks and people who were Trump supporters and backward. The original meaning had been distorted, just like the way that the history and accounts of the American Revolution have been distorted by time. History is written by the victorious, and history is left open to reinterpretation by those who have the time and power to reinterpret it.

I, too, hold such ideas to be at the pinnacle of the compass, the spirit to imbibe in a life worth living. If I were to lay into my authenticity, the facet of myself that lives in true alignment of what I am here for, I, too, would claim revolution, freedom, rebelliousness. But these terms are oppressive to those in a small town that is content to nestle itself in its own version of history, in its tried and true, slow and quiet, pace of living, in an unspoken cultural code that says, “You can do whatever you want here.”

The question is, can I live with the truths and the cultural codes that feel fundamentally opposed to who I am? It’s a bit of a “have my cake and eat it, too” situation. Today, I am not an oppressor and I don’t believe that I must impose my beliefs on other people. I walk away. I go somewhere else. In another lifetime, I am the oppressor. I believe I must impose my beliefs on other people. I walk all over the land and the people around me. At this exact moment in time, people are moving around the world in waves of gentrification amplified by location-independent work, ability and desire to move, and an embedded belief they have a right to do so.

And we all have the right to do whatever we want (at least, in theory).

I went home to my retro travel trailer perched on the ridge over the Coosa River. In Alabama, living in a tiny home (which my trailer is) is legal. It’s one of the few places in the United States where this is possible. I work from the trailer with clients all over the globe. I often fall asleep outside on the deck built outside my trailer. I watch fireflies till late at night. I’ve often said that this is peak independence, the ability to live where I want, work how I want, and be as joyful as I want. In a world tethered to patriarchy, capitalism and exploitation, and a quickly shrinking, mainstream media–cultural landscape, here in Alabama I feel I am in a time out of time. A place out of time. A place in its own space. My chapter in here is only beginning. But the past isn’t over yet. The reminders of the Confederacy and lingering racist action and a population comprised of 90% white people means the patterns haven’t broken.

I’m just repeating cycles, too. I am responsible for the ancestral inheritance that did harm to others in the name of my lineage’s own good.

Me in at the local grocery store

And for my own good, I moved to Ohatchee for a better life. My Eastern European-immigrant family did it. They left the Old World for the United States and a better life.

What is moving forward in history if patterns are unconsciously repeated? When does the past die? Does it?

One balmy Sunday afternoon, I decided to go to the park to walk. It was earlier than my usual time in the cool evening, but it was overcast. The parking lot was empty, as usual, and it wasn’t until I rounded the building from the back that I realized the sound of air conditioning running was ambient noise. I realized the Museum was open. So I went in. I was greeted by an older, short man wearing a military cap. His beard was full over his face, but I could see broken teeth through it. When he greeted me, he spoke with a soft Alabama accent.

“Where are you from?”
“I was born in New Jersey. Upstate New York was home for a while.”
“Where’s your passport?”

I sucked a breath in. It was a joke, I knew immediately, but I didn’t know just how much attitude would come with the joke. I mentally prepared to say I’m one of the good ones—meaning that I was prepared to say I’m not an annoying Northerner—but as soon as that thought arrived, it left on the tails of another one: He’s gonna treat me however he wants to, no matter me trying to be diplomatic. He offered a tour of the small museum full of artifacts from native Choctaw and Creek tribes as well as ones from the Civil War. He gave me his practiced speeches, concentrating on the 20-mile radius of the area in which we were. I hadn’t realized the amount of violence and bloodshed that this land held, including a skirmish that happened during the Civil War on the ridge above the museum—the ridge where the Confederate flag was.

“Different tribes have lived in the area for thousands of years. In fact, when they were working on the dam on the river, they found multiple city-like dwellings and burial grounds. At one point, the river was only a creek and you could wade across it.”
I imagined the Coosa River, the one I looked upon every day from my deck, and the dam, also visible from where I live. “But it’s hecking deep!”
“Now it is,” he replied. “What you don’t realize is just how much has come through the area. People have lived here for thousands of years. It was General Jackson’s ‘Indian Removal’ policies that moved all the natives out. Heck, there was even an integrated community here. Those people built this furnace before the Union troops blew it up and burned down their houses. The excavation is ongoing. They’re still finding pieces.”

An integrated community existed here in The South in the mid 1800s. It sounds like science fiction, but it is historical fact. It is a piece of this puzzle across time that only arrives from direct experience. Had I not visited the museum, I would not have encountered this gentle being who recited story after story from the wars of 1812 and the Civil War. Tom Horton was himself a military man who spent thirty years in different roles in the army and in special forces. He was also a very educated man who showed that his knowledge led to conscious choices. He and his family maintained the museum. They are stewards of history but they can only do so by being present.

The collective unconscious doesn’t care about direction. It seems as if what lay out there, in the realm of the transpersonal, is cyclic: patterns repeat. A lifetime—my lifetime, your lifetime—is a drop in the bucket of lifetimes and timelines. Patterns across lifetimes are so large and compacted that drop by drop, action by action, is the only way to deconstruct them. It comes down to presence, awareness in the moment, and the choice for humanity—micro-choices, like taking off my cap and forgetting the cultural conditioning I have in this lifetime, add up to pattern breaking.

Many people on both sides of the Civil War died. That was years ago. But the energetic undertones live on. Those people fought for their right to do whatever they want, location dependent, in a country that was birthed from the impulse to do what it wanted—expand west; not pay taxes to a foreign government; be a beacon for freedom, especially with the liberty of religious choice.

The only way to navigate the world we live in is to ride the palimpsest experience with conscious micro-choices. We’re never in one time anymore. We’re never in one narrative. The past is never dead and the future is the past. We are only at the helm of the ship, sailing massive institutions and codified history that we don’t know much about, save for what’s in books, and therefore know even less about until we have a direct experience with the actual place of history. The land holds the stories. The people continue the narrative. The individual who can hold all versions in loving kindness can find the humanity in the community and focus solely on divisive, embedded, unconscious beliefs.

As I was leaving the museum, Tom told me he had one more thing he wanted to point out.

Charles Bush, Confederate soldier

“This is my favorite.” He pointed up toward a picture of a Black man in a Confederate uniform. “People don’t think there were Black folx who fought for The South. But there were. This is Charles Bush. He volunteered for the Alabama 10th Infantry Regiment. He did so out of rage. His best white friend was killed by the Union troops, so he enlisted to let his sadness out.” Then he paused.
“You don’t hear about them,” he said.
“No. And look, that joke about the passport—well it was just a joke. Was I responsible for any of this? No. Were you responsible for anything y’all Northerners did? No. Sometimes we have to make light of it with humor. I hope you weren’t offended.”
I had to suck in breath again. “No,” I finally replied. “It just caught me off guard. I admit, I had to think about it. Just like I had to think about tipping my hat to the flag outside,” I admitted. “It’s not so in your face in the north. I just take what I watch and read at face value. But being here makes a difference. What would you do if you had to live in a densely populated area and couldn’t move about dressed like a wreck?” I shook the side of my muscle shirt, where my bra strap was visible. I looked down at my worn boots and dirty jeans and bug-bite covered legs.
“Nobody cares here,” he smiled his broken-tooth grin.
“And I just wanna be happy and free.” I smiled back and realized I hadn’t brushed my teeth that day. I was too excited to get outside and explore. As soon as I left, however, I returned to this blog. It hadn’t felt complete. I want to be free. I rebel against most traditional norms. And I want to incite a revolution in mental healthcare.

This is my rebel yell: acknowledge the legacy of history as it influences our embodied experience; reflect on the disingenuous perceptions conveyed when we only believe what we read and do not have direct experience; speak freely about the way that time can bend and move in cycles of patterns.

And, stories are told by those who have the will to tell them. This post is shared with love and respect and the opinions and journey expressed are my own.


*Trumpers: people who are Trump supporters. The diminutive way I refer to them on the first pass is meant to show how the way I use the word has changed. I stand in direct opposition to his policies of tax breaks for the rich. I stand in direct opposition to his disregard of women and his disrespect of the sovereignty of a woman’s personhood. I stand in direct opposition to his fundamentalist evangelical religion that excludes everyone who is not white and does not play a traditional role in society. I stand in direct opposition to his cabinet that effected policies to erase queer and trans and disabled bodies. But while he has sway over the people in many states and traditionally, The South, he is a New Yorker. I grew up in his shadow and I spent many years of my youth exploring the New York City as it was affected the Trump family real estate politics and the Guliani-administration. I grew up taking the bus to the then seedy 42nd Street and Times Square, where trash bins burned on street corners and cocaine dealers sold out of a suitcase in pizza shops.

It’s not Trump that I have a problem with—it’s his narcissism in overdrive, the people in his community who fawn over him because of their need to belong somewhere. They echo him because they echo the pain of needs that were never met. He too is a spiritual being having a human experience, and that experience echoes a total disconnection from the body and the nectar of inner peace that he is not aware he has. He is a character in a body—machine that writes his story from lack of love.



Hi there! Thanks for reading. I’m a writer, editor, and transpersonal guide who works with GenXers and Millennials on their journey of self exploration so they can understand themselves better and discover their self-care culture that brings them inner peace.

All of this, too–the process of self exploration and the way culture affects us–is my reason for living. I write in nonfiction and creative nonfiction forms on these topics. I invite you to read my blog, The Conversation.

And, I deal with the deep stuff–what we do when we recall past life experiences; how we engage the archetypal resonance of embodied experience; when to call the “weird stuff” you’re experiencing a spiritual awakening and when to call a mental healthcare practitioner.

I’ve got so much to say. This is my soul’s work.

  • If you are an individual or group who would like to work with me on your journey of self exploration through Planet Dust Enterprises, go here.
  • If you are interested in my work with language and changing the mental healthcare narrative, I invite you to read the curated pieces from my portfolio that are on this website and reach out.

BTW: I love tattoos and coffee.


My writing explores embodied transpersonal psychology. That is, seeing the world and the mind as multidimensional is my point of view.


  • Check out Public Parapsychology. Learn more about what psi is and why psi belongs to everyone. Join other seekers and citizen scientists who are exploring parapsychological phenomena for the benefit of understanding the spiritual nature of the material world.
  • Also consider joining The Parapsychological Association. Support an organization of professional scientists and independent researchers who are pushing the boundaries of our current understanding of the mind. Programming and publications include excellent resources for mental healthcare practitioners and healers who support individuals with transpersonal experiences. 

Excerpt from The Practice: Imagination as a tool for soul work and looking in your mirror

I’ve come to this work as a transpersonal guide after years of being on my own journey—at times I felt I was a heroine, at other times I felt like my demons were in control. Ram Dass, the spiritual teacher, said that we are polishing a mirror, and by extension, I believe through the act of writing we create our mirror on the page. I’ve been drawn to speculative fiction and science fiction, and my mirror looks like a phantasmagorical, fantastic reflection of my heroine/demoness journey. These are just the forms my imagination comes into–visuals of other worlds and space, neon colored four-legged creatures and inanimate objects such as city buildings that come alive and talk in raspy voices. Yet, at all times, the fulcrum around which I wrote was a feeling of aliveness. The images in my mind were alive. They had energy. Engaging that energy is doing inner work—which happened after I could literally see it on the page.

A feeling of aliveness—your ability to feel alive—is a better measure of mental health and the health of your inner space than any diagnostic I have encountered.

The feeling of aliveness arrives with self awareness and conscious choice. While the inner world can be abstract or elusive to language, we have to try. That is the Yet, a work. I find imagination is the tool of choice here. Throw around phrases such as “finding myself,” “knowing myself,” “higher purpose”–they can come across as deflated. We live in a society that lacks aliveness. Those phrases are cliché and dead. Chose those phrases, and I’d say the space between the words you use, your thoughts, and you, the observer of them, is still too tight. Invoking imagination can be freeing so you can make conscious choices with your language, too, helping you to look in the mirror and identify, then dis-identify from the experience in your inner world. Create space here for agency and aliveness.

In other words, writing flexes an intrapsychic muscle–a muscle from inner space.

Allan Frater’s impulse to write Waking Dreams: Imagination in Psychotherapy and Everyday Life came from his desire to recover his own imagination. He says he hadn’t lost it per se, but he “wanted back those moments when an image would capture my whole attention—a russet autumnal sunset or even just a tattered plastic bag flapping in a hawthorn hedge, moments when I would stand and gaze, seduced into an implicit meaningfulness in just being alive.” What does it mean to experience being alive because imagination calls you to remember the feeling?

I think, too, that some folx thing they lose their imagination or imaginative spirit, and the journey ends there. The journey of self actualization never ends, but we do have to find our way back to it when the mind creates a block aka the mirror breaks. Engaging the imagination is an act of power and strong will. This is the first step toward cultivating space from the chaos inside.

  • Can you be present in the chaos?
  • Can you write details from the chaos?
  • Where is your mind in time-space to notice the details?

Striking details (a russet autumnal sunset, a tattered plastic bag) are what writers or anyone with creative projects strive to imbibe their work with; the details indicate a person who has their ear to the ground of the creative impulse and the signature creativity has in the mind-body-spirit feedback loop. The details that call us to life, call us to the precipice of conscious awareness. It’s from this place that reflection happens. We intuitively know that there is something very deep behind the observation. The images were called into our field of awareness for a reason—they are keys to unlock deeper levels of our journey.

Frater admits he doesn’t know what exactly imagination is—but he makes the case for imagination being a vital force, but one that we cannot inherently quantify. Many of his ideas and context come from his practice of psychotherapy. In one passage, he describes talking a patient through an experience of active imagination. He asks the client to focus on the images, asking what she noticed when she was present with imagery. This allows the client to have a sort of free association experience with her imagery, but it becomes useful because she has insights around the source of some anxiety and anxiety-associated behaviors. This is a really important bit—when we treat the forces inside the mind (imagination, and also the will) as things in themselves, we give some integrity and structure to an otherwise nebulous inner world. Words are energy. Words are subtle and powerful things. Significant shifts can happen when looking in the mirror on the page.

Frater writes that “pretty much everything we think, feel, say, and do is a repeating pattern of core identities and way of being deeply embedded within the psyche.” Basic patterns from different areas of life (such as work, sex, and dream life) can be teased out through careful observation of imagery that arises during a focused state. Imagination work is self-exploration (and self actualization) work. Waking dreams are entering, exploring, dialoguing, shapeshifting, emerging, and patterning the inner world. This is why I’ve included creative writing exercises at the end of this guidebook. Engaging with the archetypes is looking into the mirror full of characters—in whatever form they come to you as—and starting to learn they are all within you.

Imagination is a portal to spirituality, or the feeling of interconnectedness, because the wellspring of generative force—the creative force—is within the feeling alive, the moments we surge with energy, we can notice every detail around us. We are cultivated our own strength of self awareness and awareness of the outer world. That which makes us feel alive is that which plucks the chords of the soul.
What is the point of a practice, of a journey of personal evolution and development, if it is not for diving deeper into a feeling of aliveness? As I read Waking Imagination, I couldn’t help but think of another book (Re-Visioning Psychology by James Hillman) that invites the invocation of imagination into soul work. The invitation here is to consider mental health through the lens of what we are being told as right and wrong, healthy or unhealthy, and then let it go because imagination does not fall under anyone’s jurisdiction, except for the person doing the imagining.

In other words, to stay with the flood of imagination that can open during a hypnogogic state, is the ability to see into soul and, in my opinion, the interconnectedness of an individual to a greater whole. This is an organic way of altering consciousness and shifting to different states of awareness. Frater notes that imagination is “neither entirely inner or outer…imagination is woven into all perception.” Creative writing is the thread for these ideas to come together.
If you’re looking to work with imagination on your journey of self-exploration, I recommend Waking Imagination. And if you’d like a more in-depth psychological text that invites a re-thinking of what to do with the material that emerges, especially in an imaginative practice, try Re-Visioning Psychology by James Hillman. Hillman says that soul work is a verb. Imagination is a portal; it is the experience of a psychological state where images take on consciousness, the soul speaks, and as beings, we move toward more aliveness. Both have been highly influential in my practice and what I offer in workshops. Autofiction, writing yourself into the main character of the story, becomes a container for profound transformational work. We de-literalize our lives, put things into other (fantastical, surreal) situations, take ourselves out of a smothering reality to feel our aliveness. This is the exact point that I use to advocate for creative writing as a powerful tool for transformation. It is a process for experiencing aliveness. It is also the tool to use to envision discrete psychological processes and flex the intrapsychic muscle.

And then, the mirror becomes the page. The page is what we gaze into to examine our inner world with the intention work with what we find and initiate healing and transformation. And, in tandem with psychotically guidance, engaging the act of imagination might just be one of the strongest medicines out there for working with your inner chaos and reaching inner peace.


A revised edition of The Practice: Write Your Own Story is coming summer 2023. Sign up on the right for the mailing list to know when the new edition is released!


Hi there! Thanks for reading. I’m a writer, editor, and transpersonal guide who works with GenXers and Millennials on their journey of self exploration so they can understand themselves better and discover their self-care culture that brings them inner peace.

All of this, too–the process of self exploration and the way culture affects us–is my reason for living. I write in nonfiction and creative nonfiction forms on these topics. I invite you to read my blog,  The Conversation.

And, I deal with the deep stuff–what we do when we recall past life experiences; how we engage the archetypal resonance of embodied experience; when to call the “weird stuff” you’re experiencing a spiritual awakening and when to call a mental healthcare practitioner.

I’ve got so much to say. This is my soul’s work.

  • If you are an individual or group who would like to work with me on your journey of self exploration through Planet Dust Enterprises, go here.
  • If you are interested in my work with language and  changing the mental healthcare narrative, I invite you to read the curated pieces from my portfolio that are on this website and reach out.

BTW: I love tattoos and coffee.

How to make meaning of twists of fate and the surreal

When I first sat down to write this blog, I thought I would document inner space like an authority. I would tell you that there are places we go beyond our personalities and senses of individual selves, places where we meet other souls.

But who am I to write with such authority about anyone beyond me? I can only write from a space of authority within myself. So here I go.


The universe doesn’t ask for consent. Wenn das Schicksal dir ‘was schenkt, fällt es schwer nein zu sagen, I say. It’s a lyric from a German hip hop group named Die Fantastischen Vier. It translates to “when fate throws you a gift, it’s hard to say no.” When I was sick in the beginning of 2023, it felt like fate. I spent a few weeks wondering if I had blood clots in overly swollen legs. I woke in the middle of the night with sweats, heart palpitations, and numb arms. It was mold that was causing undue stress on my otherwise healthy heart.

During the thick of symptoms and the long and arduous process of receiving healthcare in the Crescent City, I stayed in touch with colleagues across the globe via WhatsApp, a Wi-Fi-based messaging service. A Russian woman named Marianne who lives in South Africa—a fellow psychosynthesis practitioner—checked in often. It was as if she felt a disturbance in our shared field, one cultivated over the past year during online seminars. But we’ve never met. Despite distance and culture, we are uncannily close. She told me often of times I said something exactly as she needed to hear it. At the least, we share a strong psychic connection.

During recent challenging times in New Orleans, when I woke in the middle of the night with concerns about my health, I had a message from her asking if I was alright.

And while I had, on paper, hard and fast medical problems, I also knew that energetically I was shifting out of old patterns. That was reflected in the explosion of issues I was having in my body. One toxic pattern in particular—that I was only loveable based on the care that I gave to someone—was unraveling. I was exploring the subconscious roots of the pattern; being with the strong emotions that were repressed; expressing the stories raveled up with those emotions; and then letting the whole experience go. My heart couldn’t take any more heartbreak because I loved too much, without abandon, and without accountability from the other person. This is where the toxicity of loving too much starts: I could flood a person with compassion, and say it was okay if they couldn’t love me back because they weren’t in the right headspace (due to disorder, addiction, or just straight shitty self-mental healthcare). It’s toxic when I started to rationalize the other person’s behavior (“He was just having a bad day…”) and over time, the person balked when, on a good day, I asked for something that I needed.

The metaphor of having heart problems is not lost on me—and like any turn of personal evolution, any piece of spiritual growth, I matched the metaphor to my process.

The cranes above my bed.

Marianne walked the journey with me. She received my wails and woes over the waves of data beamed across the Interwebs. One day, she had a tarot card pulled that had a crane and a moon on it. She felt that the message wasn’t for her, so she reached out to me. Indeed, it had been the night of the Virgo full moon (purging and cleansing, shame, self-care themes) and it was one of my worst nights physically. And, I had pieces of wallpaper with cranes on it framed above my bed.

We took it as a validation of our psychic bond, our connection across time and space.

When Marianne checks in on me, it’s often because she has a dream. She has repeatedly met me in the dream space—I am unaware of it, but she is lucid. The image that she meets is of me standing behind a door. She coaxes me through. I interpret the door as stepping to the next level, and in particular, shutting the door on the toxic pattern of loving too much without accountability. I asked her to draw the door she sees me behind. It is a beautiful orange and blue door with a gold border. I loved the image so much that I put it on my leg as a tattoo—a way of honoring the inner work I was doing to pull the roots of this behavior.

The door tattoo, next to the alligator tattoo previously done to honor time lived in New Orleans.

Incidentally, the tattoo was the first thing that got infected and indicated a deeper problem was going on in my body.

There was initially a lack of clarity around what was causing my ill health. At the very least, I needed antibiotics for my legs. And there was a lack of ease receiving treatment and medication. Since I had a long period of not being able to walk, I had rented a car to take my dog to the park. Incidentally, a pharmacy that was supposed to dispense me antibiotics suddenly couldn’t. The only way to get what I needed was to literally drive to another town.

“And what if I don’t have a car?” I had cheekily asked, half daft in a fever fugue and half pissed and sassy.

The pharmacy attendant shrugged.

The challenge of living in a city like New Orleans is that just good enough is the baseline. And sometimes that didn’t even happen. It’s a city so traumatized and under resourced on so many levels that there is no health there. There is only survival and when ’s gone, party till the inevitable end. I drove what should have been the twenty-minute round trip to get my medicine. Through bad road conditions, traffic, and a glaring sunset that inhibited seeing anything past the hood of the rental, the trip took 3 hours.

It was the final straw. I decided that I would leave, not knowing where I would go or how I would pack and move when I couldn’t walk and breathing was difficult. As I sat in the rental and shielded my eyes, my energetic heart swelled, and I felt intuitively that this was the right decision. I knew it would work out although I didn’t know how.

Trust and geaux. (Writing it  as “geaux” is my homage to the New Orleans’ way of putting a French influence [via spelling] on regional language.)

I left New Orleans, Louisiana en route to the Catskill Mountains in New York, which had been the home that I needed to leave after a different crisis. However, I only made it 8 hours north of the Bacchanalian city, where I write from my new home in the woods of Ohatchee, Alabama.

It was a strange series of events that led me here, starting with a systemic infection based on mold toxicity that was stressing my heart. But it was intuition that held me the entire journey, that same intuition that flooded in as I sat in the rental. Support from my global community, like from my Russian colleague, let’s me know I am not on this journey alone. I write from direct experience of the place other souls met me along the way. I’m not sure if it was inner space or outer space, but I’m doubly not sure that it matters. What I mean by this is two-fold.

There was a need to take care of myself medically and physically. And there was equally a need to take care of myself mentally, as the stress of living in the city had taken its toll after two years. Leaving New Orleans happened in the three-dimensional world. I could call that outer space.

That tripped some strings in inner space, or the multidimensional world. I’m not sure the distinction of inner space matters, save for the perceptions that we have of these intuitions from the third eye and downloads that come through the multidimensional world.

Synchronicities emerge from the lower unconscious and higher unconscious in the presence of awareness. Jung refers to a famous story of synchronicity as a beetle tapping on a window precisely at the moment a patient of his brought one into conversation.

Beetle on the trailer in Ohatchee, Alabama.

There was a synchronicity of the deepest level on a day I was towing north toward New York.
I had resolved to buy a camper and a truck and make my way to New York, trusting and geauxing and figuring out the three-dimensional world as I went. I wasn’t much too excited about a drive day through Alabama. I hadn’t wanted to leave New Orleans on such short notice, but I did it for my wellness. I was tired. And I wanted a home.

I was lost in my thoughts, about four hours in and suddenly an alarm went off—Trailer Disconnected. I looked out my passenger-side window and saw smoke. I pulled off the highway and before I could even pull up the Geico app to call for help, a white truck pulled up in front of me on the shoulder. A man got out. I unconsciously started throwing him the meanest eye darts ever.

He lifted up his shirt and dipped—bowed—and I said, „Not now, asshole.“ I was fuming.

He approached my window and said, „Look, I can see you need help. I don’t have any guns and I have a chihuahua, too.“

I should have known—it has happened so many times. Someone lifts their shirt as a Southern code for guns (or no guns). He bowed because he was tryna be funny. He could tell I was pissed.

He offered to work on my trailer and I was too stunned to even speak. He said he couldn’t believe I didn’t flip the trailer—the tire was completely shredded. And my sway bars, unbeknownst to me, had popped off.

I had ridden past two accidents and four construction zones. I didn’t think twice about the bumpiness of the ride.

So, that. The tires on my trailer are not rated for speeds above 50mph and by the grace of this angel, I now know. Basically, they melt from the heat of friction, hence the smoke.

I was completely broken.

He asked me what I worked on, what kind of books I’m into, and I stuttered for a second. He said, „Throwing bones and weird shit? That’s the only thing that saved me.“

—As if he knew that’s my wheelhouse.

He said we should hurry up and get to Walmart—two exits down and then two lefts.

„We?“ I asked, more surprised at the naturalness of it all.

„Oh, I mean ‚yew‘,“ he replied in an Alabama drawl.

I offered to Venmo him money and with the most innocent response, he said, „What’s that?“

I asked how I could repay him. He said, „just give me a hug.“ (He got a shot of reiki energy, too.) And then he got back into his truck and drove off. Later that day, as I laid in my camper bed stranded in the Walmart parking lot, I questioned if he was real. Stories of guardian angels pepper the media. And he had been at exactly the right spot at the right time to help me.

Tire shredded after driving with incorrect weight and speed.

I decided the following day to find him, and I did through the power of Facebook and the photo I took. Someone pointed out that his truck was a Chevy, and goosebumps ran down my spine. My dad used to drive a Chevy and since the incident happened close to the anniversary of his death, where his discarnate energy may be more present on the Earth plane, I wondered if my dad hadn’t sent my guardian angel after all. I believe that my dad did, and so my guardian angel was real and not real. Or, he came from the surreal.

The synchronicity blew my mind.

After I sorted out my tires the next day, I got back on the road. I was overwhelmed by peace and I heard a voice inside me say, “I am home.”

I was passing through the woods of the Talladega Forest.

I checked into a campsite in Georgia to recover my nerves and wonder what any of it meant. What meaning could I make of the supernatural events?

I spent nearly three weeks in Georgia. I was in the countryside, parked next to a creek, under crystal clear night skies. I started to be able to breathe and walk without any problem. I was haunted by the incident in Alabama, especially the voice the next day, so I followed my intuition. I decided to go back. Head to Alabama today for an afternoon of wandering, and my loves Coco and Conan accompanied me.

Really, though, I could say that I followed my heart. It was my heart that was not healthy and in the general area that I had passed through the day after the incident with my trailer, I felt alive again. Well. Whole. During that drive, inner alarm bells started going off, telling me I was home. That day, I retraced my steps from Georgia to Alabama to confirm the intuition.

In other words, Earth energy led me here. The meaning I make of it is there are ruptures in the field of shared reality, and sometimes, the only way to navigate is through intuition. Meaning doesn’t matter here. It’s fate that is driving.

I got high on the smell of pine in the Talladega Forest, and things started to swirl, and I think I was in a Stephen King novel because a train appeared and took me to the other side of the universe. And the trees talked in serious tones and said this is the cost of passage to another world: lose your mind and trust your inner sense.

Walking in the Talladega Forest.

So I took the gift from fate: I intuited to stay.

I rode back and the smell of jasmine and honeysuckle and cow shit and wet hay flew in one window and out the other. The katydids or cicadas or whatever shape and name the crickety insects took changed into ghost hands, shaking down bones in a cup held by people long dead and fairy Earth energy who cheered me back to my campsite. The surreal and the real mixed.

The next day, I found a tiny home community perched on the banks of the Coosa River, near the Talladega Forest. Two days later, I got a lease.

I knew I was home.

I’ve since become friends with my guardian angel who goes by Jay. Marianne checks in regularly, and recently, told me she felt that she could really connect with me on a new level. A heart level. I think the sickness brought me to a new level of health. There is a strong psychic connection with both of these people, I want to remain in right relation and authentic to the meanings that I make from such relationships. They emerged from the transpersonal to the shared reality of the third dimension. They were part of my journey led by intuition to a new home.

Reflecting on that level of surreality into reality will have me in awe for a while.



Hi there! Thanks for reading. I’m a writer, editor, and transpersonal guide who works with GenXers and Millennials on their journey of self exploration so they can understand themselves better and discover their self-care culture that brings them inner peace.

All of this, too–the process of self exploration and the way culture affects us–is my reason for living. I write in nonfiction and creative nonfiction forms on these topics. I invite you to read my blog,  The Conversation.

And, I deal with the deep stuff–what we do when we recall past life experiences; how we engage the archetypal resonance of embodied experience; when to call the “weird stuff” you’re experiencing a spiritual awakening and when to call a mental healthcare practitioner.

I’ve got so much to say. This is my soul’s work.

  • If you are an individual or group who would like to work with me on your journey of self exploration through Planet Dust Enterprises, go here.
  • If you are interested in my work with language and  changing the mental healthcare narrative, I invite you to read the curated pieces from my portfolio that are on this website and reach out.

BTW: I love tattoos and coffee.