Invasive Species, Black Walnuts, Narcissists, and a Comment Bump-Up

I’ve received some emails and comments about yesterday’s post, Clearing Fog: Higher Discernment and Effective Tools to Free Yourself from Confusion, Narcissists and Sociopaths, and I just want to remind everyone that I consider myself primarily an artist in all things I do, including in my garden and on this blog.

In the garden, as on the blog, context is everything. The very same “beneficial” plant in one setting could become toxic and invasive in another setting. Tansy attracts all the right bugs, but left to set seed, it can completely overtake your garden, as well as your neighbors’ yards. If you plant it, know what you’re dealing with, and keep those seeds in check. If you don’t want to be careful, then don’t plant tansy.

Black walnut trees provide excellent walnuts, but the juglone they exude happens to poison most surrounding plants, even for years after cutting them down. Do black walnut trees have zero value? Should they be avoided at all costs? That depends on what you’re trying to grow around them. If you love black walnuts for their calories, heart healthy fats, and taste, then maybe you want to plant black walnut trees. Maybe you want to create an entire guild of black walnut trees and compatible plants, because you love what those plants offer. No problem there — unless you want to grow juglone intolerant plants around their drip line or roots. If you want a regular garden, then don’t plant black walnuts. If you have black walnuts around, you will need to know how to protect your soil and plants from juglone contamination. Context makes a difference in what and how you decide to plant.

Japanese knotweed is the bane of ecosystems, a highly, highly invasive species that out competes native species and can ruin yards, parks and gardens. Would I ever plant it? Nope. Does it have value as a foraged plant? You betcha. Japanese knotweed happens to grow extremely well in Lyme-endemic areas like Wisconsin, and guess what? The exceptionally high resveratrol content in Japanese knotweed just happens to be an effective alternative treatment for Lyme Disease. It also makes delicious rhubarb-like deserts, and tastes amazing as a pickle. Is Japanese knotweed evil? Should it be sprayed with increasingly strong toxic chemicals? Or could it provide an enormous amount of free food and medicine for restaurants, wild food foragers and people needing to strengthen their immune systems?

Please take any article or video I post within context of the post. Just because I post an informative video or article that speaks to the topic at hand does not mean I fully endorse the person or their work in any and all contexts. It means I found value in what they shared related to the information at hand. I write so many posts about discernment in order to help individual readers increase their own process of discernment. My posting something does not absolve you of your own responsibility for discerning in your own life and its own unique contexts. Like an artist, as a blog writer, I feel into what feels important to express, and I pick and choose colors, words, images, articles and/or videos that help to make that expression more available.

I do the same thing in the garden with plant selection. I would not and do not knowingly plant invasive species, but if something is already there, and it provides exactly what I’ve been looking for, I will find a use for it until I find a way to eradicate it, if I find it’s posing an active risk. Context makes a difference with plants and with people. Some narcissists and sociopaths do incredible work. I’ve actually found that these types of people vie with one another for control, and so often they provide extremely useful tools for seeing through other narcissists and sociopaths. That doesn’t mean I want to watch every video they’ve ever done, want them as a friend, or endorse all their work. Unless I specifically say that I endorse someone or that this person is a friend of mine, then I am not blanket endorsing them. As an artist, I have merely decided that this particular color works well here. As a gardener, I’ve decided that this particular plant would look good here and provide value to its neighbors. As a blogger, it means I find this particular piece valuable in this particular context.

The world is not black or white. It has a whole lot of grey. If you can’t decide between a and b, that’s likely due to the infinite distance and variances between a and b that you haven’t considered. Empowerment includes wading through the grey to find your own answers. If you need help with that, I’m happy to assist through articles and/or sessions; however, the decisions on how to act or what to do with information remain your own responsibility. Here’s how one reader has applied some of the material on this and other blogs. I write and garden to inspire and to create more beauty in the world. Sometimes that involves looking at big piles of compost and recognizing how everything and everyone have value. Context is key. Knowing what you desire to create in your life, how you wish to feel and how you wish to be … all of these are keys, too.

Comment bump up from Seattle72:

Gaslight is a really good movie. Gives me shivers watching it. Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman are brilliant in it. A 19 year old Angela Landsbury is in the cast as well.
In the aftermath of ending a recent relationship, I was getting bummed thinking that it seems all men are abusive narcissists in some form. Then I was whacked upside the head with the realization it only seems that way because I keep trying to master my trauma to rewrite history to prove I’m worth loving, by cycling through the same story, with similar players, over and over again.
I really started to buy into the idea that I must be crazy because when I was with him, things seemed so good. He dangled the carrot, and I jumped. It felt so familiar. Then, almost like clockwork, within 36 hours of spending time together, I would awaken from that spell and start questioning him, holding him accountable. I was no longer adoring and instead started calling him out on his crap, which included gaslighting, lies, evasion, etc. You can guess which side of me he labeled as crazy and unstable…
I started to believe it too, that my adoring, fawning, butt-kissing, suck-up side was the sane side… Why couldn’t I just be nice all the time? I was so lucky to have him, if I keep this up I will lose him! 😝 He encouraged that fawning part of me (which really is a coping persona borne from childhood abuse, a component of Complex PTSD, its the fourth ‘F’ in the fight, freeze, flight, fawn quartet). What an incredibly sick form of conditioning, what an incredibly unhealthy relationship.
I think one of the gifts of this experience is discovering that my so-called bitchy side that stands up for myself and expects respect and accountability from others is actually a great facet to have! Its not the crazy side, or bad side as a few narcissists would have me believe. It carries much of my will and aligns with 3rd Chakra energies if I’m not mistaken.
Conversely, if I see myself starting to fawn and trip over my good sense and self care to please someone for the reward of their approval, that’s when I need to take a moment to assess whats really going on there, it could be a signal something is up.
I’ve had it backwards for so many years now! It’s kind of freeing to realize that the side of me I wished away for so long, the side I blamed for all my failed relationships may actually be a very important part of my core being.
I’m looking forward to exploring this flip in perspectives.
Here are a few links pertaining to Complex PTSD that I found pretty helpful.
http://outofthefog.website/toolbox-1/2015/11/17/complex-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-c-ptsd
http://www.pete-walker.com/index.htm

Thank you, as always, for creating this space to share.
😸

Laura again: thank you, Seattle72! Sounds like you’re reclaiming parts of yourself and embracing Shadow … more keys to being happy, healthy and whole. Many blessings to you and all!

Clearing Fog: Higher Discernment and Effective Tools to Free Yourself from Confusion, Narcissists and Sociopaths

Today’s topic has been trending in sessions for the past several months, but it’s reached a crescendo in recent weeks, both in sessions and in the collective. Specifically, as veils continue to thin or evaporate, people begin to catch glimpses of abuse, covert narcissism, sociopathy, or even just wonder:

Why aren’t I happy when everything in my life seems ‘perfect’?

Why am I so confused?

Why do I have no idea who I am or what I want?

Why do I suck at manifestation even though I’m a “lightworker”?

How can x not see through y (while z demands to know how y can’t see through x!)?

Hypothetically, if I am trapped in a relationship with someone on the narcissist or sociopath spectrum, how would I know, and how do I free myself?

How do they get away with it? (Or, alternatively, how could I not have seen this?)

If someone sounds angry and unspiritual, how could this person be right? (Or, alternatively, if someone is always full of love and light, how could this person be wrong?)

If this relationship is toxic, then why do I feel so guilty leaving it?

These questions and more have become so common in recent sessions that I realize it’s time for some additional posts on this topic, in addition to ones I’ve posted over the years.

First up: the topic of “gaslighting.” I’ve spent hours trying to find an articulate, comprehensive YouTube video, and this video from 2013 is the best one I’ve found to explain why we all need to increase our awareness of what gaslighting is and how to inoculate ourselves from its effects. James Corbett and Thomas Sheridan do an excellent job describing the history of this term, as well as the ways it affects individuals and our society, causing people to doubt their own sense of reality and remain victims:

Extra credit viewing: links to and clips from the original movie, “Gaslight.”

As James and Thomas explain, this concept of gaslighting — manipulating circumstances to make someone doubt his or her version of reality or believe s/he’s crazy — accounts for so much confusion in our society, as well as in individual lives. It’s pervasive, and learning to recognize this tactic will help in discerning how to deal with increased revelations on both personal and collective levels.

This next video discusses how to recognize and deal with a “covert narcissist,” someone who does not fit the typical idea of a bombastic, brash, arrogant, angry jerk, but rather more like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. These patterns are so prevalent in our society, especially among “paragons” of helping professions, spiritual and religious groups, community leaders and those people who seem like saints to everyone but the people closest to them. If you’ve ever been involved in one of these relationships, you know how devastating it feels when no one believes your cries for help. You also might wonder how the heck do I prevent this from going any further? Ross Rosenberg explains the dynamic, along with examples:

“Ross Rosenberg, author and codependency expert, discusses a technique he developed that empowers and assists recovering codependents with their struggles with their narcissistic loved ones. This is a revolutionary technique that will help anyone disconnect from an emotionally manipulative person’s (an addict or pathological narcissist) attempts to bring them into their world of chaos and drama. As George Bernard Show once said, ‘I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty,and besides, the pig likes it.’ This video will help the recovering codependent to not ‘wrestle’ with their manipulative narcissist. Ross is the author of the Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us, which can be purchased at http://www.HumanMagnetSyndrome.com”

The following video by Ross Rosenberg reveals the importance of not tipping your hand when you flee the clutches of a narcissist. These people thrive on conflict and dragging people into the fight. You can unmask them and help others to free themselves, but you do need an exit strategy:

If you suspect you might have experienced narcissistic abuse and/or gaslighting in your personal life (not just in the media or broader culture), you might also find the next two videos helpful. They are a bit repetitive, but when breaking free of mind control, repetition provides a counter-voice to the one narcissists and sociopaths help you internalize:

I will leave you with Lisa A. Romano’s personal example of the “Nice Narcissist” in her own life and just how these insidious behaviors sneak past intuitive nudges, gut instincts, and red flags:

Please note: I am not diagnosing or prescribing anyone or anything here — just sharing information to help people begin to clear the fog. I will likely continue to post on this topic, as energies and revelations are all over the place right now. Big hugs, discernment, courage, confidence and blessings to you!

Real Time Astrology: New Moon Solar Eclipse in Virgo September 1st, 2016

Really good information here: how to make the most of this month’s energies, starting with the September 1 eclipse.

Viva Combusta!

Virgo new moon eclipse September astrology Mural by A’Shop

The New Moon Solar Eclipse at 9 degrees Virgo takes place on Thursday, September 1st, 4:03 AM Central Standard Time. It is an annular solar eclipse, meaning it will create the visible coronal ring (“ring of fire”) most people associate with eclipses. The closer an eclipse is to the Moon’s Nodes, the stronger; with the North Node at 12 degrees Virgo this does set us up for a powerful and intense eclipse! The Sun, New Moon and North Node all in Virgo will be joined by Mercury retrograde in exact conjunction to Jupiter at 28 degrees Virgo. That’s quite the five star stellium! The Virgo New Moon/Solar Eclipse/stellium will also form a formidable mutable T-square by squaring Mars at 14 degrees Sagittarius and Saturn at 10 Sagittarius, and opposing Neptune retrograde at 10 degrees Pisces.

The orbs are tight for this one; no room for…

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Late Summer in the Garden

The days are getting shorter, and the light has softened, dipping slightly lower in the sky. The blooms of summer have subtly shifted into more of an autumn palette — still bright and yet somehow tinged with more golds, reds and brownish pinks. Here are some photos from today and yesterday.

Zinnias begin to come into their glory as we move into Autumn:

zinnias

The first of several green striped cushaw squash made an appearance, alongside some marigolds and at least two more winter squash buddies. These cushaw squash grow to the size of toddlers with almost zero effort:

Green striped cushaw

Garlic chives bloom at this time of year instead of in spring like their purple cousins. Here you can see this popular insect spot, alongside purple leaf shiso (great in a hazelnut pesto!), eggplant, tomatoes, parsley, bush basil, zinnias, and cosmos.

garlic chives and shiso

The sweet potatoes in the Haus Am See trough are getting ready to bloom alongside lettuce, purple cabbage and zinnias, and some of the perennials are finally starting to take root. The trough further back currently has another white scallop squash plant, lettuce, cosmos and calendula, but I recently seeded it with cold hardy Lucullus chard and giant winter spinach. Once those come in, the squash might go. I can’t keep up with the single one I have growing out back — not sure why I planted a second! The sunflowers all over the yard continue to attract dozens of goldfinches, bees, and silly squirrels and chipmunks who climb the stems.

blue house troughs

Blackeyed Susan’s really shine at this time of year:

black eyed Susan's

… and sedum has begun its shift from white to pink to deep reddish brown:

misty sedum

I will leave you with yesterday’s bouquet speedily put together between thunderstorms and carefully delivered to David’s mom. As I stretch the seasons of bloom, I believe she’s up to about 35 weekly bouquets per year — not bad for a former wasteland in zone 5b, but I am determined to do even better!

late August bouquet

Blessed Be … and be the blessing.

Golden Tickets and Enough Rope

Whenever energies grow particularly potent, the Universe sends out another batch of “golden tickets,” à la “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Intense desire to better one’s life summons unusual circumstances governed by “chance” or “fate,” synchronizing into the opportunity of a lifetime. As Carl Jung noted: “When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves.” Golden tickets can reveal truly golden characters, or they can arrange for circumstances to destroy lives as a result of rotten characters made visible.

This past month, and especially the last couple weeks, offered golden tickets galore to both private individuals and those on very public stages. I’ve seen this with clients, friends, former clients and others I’ve helped in secret behind the scenes, but even cursory glances at headlines reveal opportunities for more famous people to make a clean, definitive break with “the way things were” and truly embrace new realities, relief, and freedom. Golden tickets do not erase the past; however, they do bring with them “enough rope to save yourself or hang yourself.” In fact, golden tickets push inner indecision to the forefront, forcing people to take some kind of decisive action with that rope.

As with characters in any good story, we each hold within us both light and shadow, along with the potential for both courage and cowardice. Some people’s Shadows are darker and murkier than others, and some people’s courage hides itself more thoroughly than others. When a golden ticket arrives, even people with very dark Shadows and self sabotage programs who never managed to summon enough courage to break away from old patterns before — these people in possession of a shiny golden ticket suddenly find themselves with a chocolate factory full of highly visible opportunities to demonstrate their character.

Of course, we hope that everyone will be a Charlie Bucket, but we find plenty of Violet Beauregarde’s and Veruca Salts. Sometimes, we find a real Arthur Slugsworth. More often, we find people for whom we really do want to root, but we’re just not sure what they’ll do with this golden ticket. Such people might even have a great deal of charisma and somehow manage to beat the odds and summon multiple golden tickets throughout their lives, but maybe we’ve already seen them squander two golden tickets. Maybe we sense the ticket they now hold has attached itself to a more decisive rope. Will they save themselves or hang themselves? Will they win the chocolate factory or definitively reveal themselves as bad eggs or cowards?

Golden tickets force the truth forward in the form of enough rope. Unless we engage in vindictive Shadenfreude, we generally hope people use that rope to save themselves, envisioning how they could then use that same rope to inspire and lend a helping tug to others. But what happens when they don’t? What happens when someone’s responses to his or her golden ticket reveal the worst and weakest, rather than the best of inner character? What happens when someone with a golden ticket doubles down on that response?

In a golden ticket situation, the differences between someone we know and/or love saving themselves and hanging themselves become so apparent as to shine light in even the deepest corners of cognitive dissonance, hopium and our desire to believe that anyone can change. Depending on our relationship with the person squandering the golden ticket, we reach our own decisive point of trying to shake some sense into the person, walking away, and/or removing our entanglements and any enabling behaviors. Turning our backs on someone who has squandered a golden ticket  can feel like a lonely, disillusioned, and sorrowful time, but it also offers a vicarious opportunity to make a decisive change in our own lives.

As revelations, extreme life challenges and health crises often summon golden tickets, we will continue to witness (and sometimes even experience) the corresponding length of rope. As individuals, and as a society. Western culture is itself in an extensive golden ticket moment. What will we, as participants, decide to do with our opportunity? What will we, as individuals, choose to do in our own lives to honor courage and truth? Not pseudo-courage that hides behind ideologies or other people … and not slippery truth whose words promise all manner of contradictory things in an effort to pass the rope.

As I’ve mentioned before, I find fiction a useful medium for exploring consciousness and a variety of what if’s. I’ve recommended Starhawk’s novels as both prophetic and highly useful tools for navigating our now, but many novels or films with well developed characters can help us gain clarity on the miasma of light and shadow, courage and cowardice, truth and lies. Some interesting viewing for our times includes: “The Big Short,” “Revolutionary Road,” and on a more mythological level, “The Neverending Story,” as well as Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. This is our story, too. How we respond matters. As in, creates matter. Form. Reality.

People struggling with suspected narccisistic abuse might want to check out M. Scott Peck’s classic, “People of the Lie,” along with the resources on http://narcissismfree.com. Those who suspect they might be dealing with someone exhibiting borderline personality disorder might also appreciate Mason and Kreger’s book, “Stop Walking on Eggshells.” Those who just want to make sure they don’t squander their own golden ticket might want to read T. Thorn Coyle’s “Make Magic of Your Life.” Trust your gut on this one. The heart and mind get all sorts of entanglements, but your body knows when you need to remove yourself from a situation or person.

These are not easy times, but remember, “Whenever energies grow particularly potent, the Universe sends out another batch of ‘golden tickets,’ à la ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.'” Huge potentials exist for those who step into courage, love and boundless imagination:

Willy Wonka: Oh, And Charlie? Do not forget about the guy who got everything he wanted!

Charlie Bucket: Oh, What happened to him?

Willy Wonka: Well, he lived happily ever after.

 

Big blessings, love and support along your journey…

Laura

The Importance of Starhawk’s “City of Refuge”

I feel like this message needs re-posting, as so many people are reeling (real-ing?) from various revelations in personal, local, national, international and internet land. Sometimes fiction creates a safer ground for sorting through one’s own moral and spiritual assumptions, beliefs, and blind spots. We live in times of thinning veils, speedy web spinning, and continued tears. (Both the kind from your eyes and the kind that make holes in webs.)

If you feel ungrounded, please get outside and put your bare feet ON the ground. Find your own center, away from the hoopla, and give yourself permission to process at your own pace. If life demands faster processing, then I do recommend a fiction breather. Starhawk’s most recent novels give insights to all sorts of characters and situations, and identifying with characters as you read offers a chance for self-observation and, if necessary, recalibration. Few things are black or white. Learning to face the grey and navigate it will allow us to move forward in whole and integrated ways. And that is an individual process before it becomes a societal one.

Hugs, love and blessings …

Laura Bruno's Blog

As predicted, levels of intensity, exposure, and reactivity continue to increase, so we best learn how to deal with rapidly thinning veils. I’ve said for years that this is not a time for keeping secrets and hiding from your Shadow, as the energies no longer support codependency, collusion, treason, or sweeping things under the rug. They just don’t. I’m rarely surprised by “shocking” revelations, as I read people’s energy signatures and therefore notice the darkness amidst the light, the smudges, the shameful feelings, fear and Shadow boxing. We will see more and more of this as the veils continue to thin.The Hopi prophecies even predict people losing their minds due to enhanced abilities to “see.”

Best remedies?

As I have said for years, we must each address our own Shadow. Doing so takes tremendous courage and often results in internal and public shaming or rejection by friends, family, and society…

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Roses and a Quick Reminder

Some beauty and a quick reminder. First, the beauty:

rose bouquet.jpg

And now, the reminder:

We’re already 22 days into August! That means we’re fast approaching the 8/31 deadline for this month’s specials, which will not be renewed next month. (In other words, September will feature different specials.)

8/31 is also the early registration discount deadline for the September 10 Reiki class in Goshen, IN.

AUGUST 2016 SPECIALS

Intuitive Preparedness Check-In

This is a return of a popular 2014 special, which I feel called to highlight again now due to so many people asking me about Brexit, potential US election chaos, gardening questions, and especially with so many people suddenly (since July 1) sensing new openings and opportunities that once seemed very far away. People want to know how to maintain an positive, proactive vibration and how to thrive while also shoring up any weak spots. This special responds to many comments, questions and private emails requesting my take on the question “What can I do right now?” — for specific individuals, rather than general guidelines and suggestions.

This hour session gives you access to my own intuitive scan of what areas of focus will provide you the greatest payback and sense of abundance, peace and security, with the least amount of resistance. Those looking to make larger lifestyle shifts can ask me to scan various lifestyle, location and/or community options to see which ones fit best with your vibration and heart’s desires. You can also use our time together to discuss energetic/magickal protection and manifestation tools and techniques, along with troubleshooting your most pressing concerns in various areas of life, including finances, food security, faith/spirituality/soul nurturing, relationships and/or land, including “garden guidance.”

I feel so strongly about helping people take steps from fear, denial and overwhelm into abundance, joy and freedom, that I’m keeping this pricing a simple $123. As Tolkien said, “Little by little, one travels far.”

Please contact me if you’d like to sign up for this special. Offer valid if prepaid on or before August 31, 2016.

$333 Intuitive Coaching Three-Pack

With regular intuitive or life coaching sessions running $175/hour, this special offers major savings at $333/three hours. I’ve found that even people who normally process things on their own feel challenged by the increased intensity and “sorting” of the Universe these days. As we continue with Earth changes, internal and galactic shifts, I feel called to offer a short burst of support to those in need. These sessions can be used close together or saved for a future need. You can use them in hour or half-hour segments. The entire package can be gifted to someone else, but (for simplicity of paperwork) these three-packs cannot be divided and shared among multiple individuals. Offer valid if prepaid on or before August 31, 2016. To schedule your first session or purchase the package, please contact me here.

REIKI TRAINING

Reiki Level 1 Certification Class in Goshen, Indiana

Saturday, September 10, 2016 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (East Coast time) in Goshen, Indiana.

For reference, Goshen is about 40 minutes East of South Bend, 8 miles from the Michigan border, and 2-3 hours from the Chicago area, depending on your exact location. A limited number of rooms are available for students who need to spend the night.

Students will learn and/or receive:

• History, nature, and science of Reiki.
• Experiencing Reiki energy.
• Using Reiki with other healing arts.
• Discussion of 21-day cleanse.
• Treating animals and plants.
• Essence scanning process.
• Establishing a Reiki practice.
• Practice self-treatment hand positions.
• Handouts and resource list.
• Reiki Circles.
• What a Reiki lineage represents.
• Giving a Reiki treatment with hand positions.
• Ethics and Legal Responsibilities as a Reiki Practitioner.
• Reiki Level 1 Attunement.

Certification: At the end of the training, each student will receive a certificate acknowledging completion of Reiki Level 1, as well as recognition as a Reiki Level 1 Practitioner. Taking any Reiki training with me also qualifies each student to audit (at no cost) any additional Reiki classes taught by me, up to and including the level completed with her (space permitting).

Fee: $175 ($150 if prepaid by 8/31/2016)

Please contact me to reserve your spot.

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