Saturday, July 27, 2013

Kindness Day Crystal Grids

If you have a moment, use these grids for a tonglen meditation or prayer session. I have decided to share this before I go into my painting meditation session, so others can hold these parents, themselves and those they love in healing light and energy. If we are doing this together, the healing energy will be amplified, cascading through the universe. This year, I am painting over thirty paintings. I will be in meditation all day, and through this time, I will be holding these people in prayer and meditation. Later, I will send each person a painting. I do this once a year (sometimes twice). And I am honored to do this work.

As a crystal healer, I feel it is important to set this intention and sacred space with crystals, and create grids, as you see above, to amplify the prayer, reiki and meditations I am doing. These can be used by you as well. You just use it as a soft gaze point in your meditation.

The heart grid is for grief and healing of the heart chakra. It is held for all parents, siblings and families grieving the loss of their baby or babies. For a tonglen, you can breath in their suffering, let it sit in your chest, and breathe out love, or healing, or compassion. This is a meditation to help alleviate suffering. I have written about it a few times. The term Tonglen means giving and taking, and as we meditate with take the suffering into us and give relief, even temporarily, to the sufferer. I have been meditating tonglen since my daughter died. My therapist, a Buddhist, taught it to me as a way to have self-compassion. It has worked. I began using Pema Chodron's CD, Good Medicine. This changed my life. I share tonglen with people whenever I can, because it is so powerful, so healing, so invites me to get out of my own way.

In the bottom grid, the medicine wheel healing grid, it is for all healing and connection. I have spoken the names of the people who specifically requested they be included, but I also included all those who I have forgotten to mention and all of humanity. (We all suffer.) I am also performing tonglen for this session.

I do these paintings and spend this day in prayer and meditation in memory of my daughter Lucia Paz, who left us far too soon, but who connects me to so many around the world. Her grace and life continues to ripple through the world. You can do a MISS Foundation Kindness Day Random Act of Kindness. It is a day specifically set aside to do anonymous and out in the open random acts of kindness in your child's name. Find out more information here.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


First things first, July 27th is the MISS Foundation's Kindness Project, and I am participating for the third year. Last year, I made a video of my work, which probably everyone has seen a bazillion times, but if not, this describes what I do and why.

So, again, this year, I am performing a tonglen meditation for grieving parenting, and painting mizuko jizo for grieving parents. If you would like a painting, please leave a comment here. This year, I am also adding an additional tonglen meditation and painting session for general healing. It will be directed to those suffering from emotional, physical, mental or physical dis-ease. In that painting session, I am painting angels. This will be an intuitive session, so I'm not sure what is going to come out. Again, this is a 4"x6" watercolor painting, and it is open to anyone. You can leave a comment here if you would like a healing angel painting. Along with both of these sessions, I am setting up two crystal grids, which will be infused with Reiki and prayers--one will be a grief heart chakra grid, and the other will be a healing grid. If you would like to be included in either grid (or both), please leave your name (or the name of the person to be prayed for) in the comment section of this post. for these grids, I write the names out to be placed under the stone, after I pray and speak the names and issues out loud. For the healing grid, you can include the specific issue you are asking for healing around.. I am sending it out to the universe, so that helps (though please know it is not necessary.) No issue is too small to ask for healing around, so please do not be shy.

Grief and healing grid from last year as I painted mizuko jizo.
It is my distinct honor to paint in memory of my daughter on this day. I spend the entire day in meditation and prayer, communing with grief and Spirit. And I paint. It is a beautiful recharging day for me, so just know if you have ever wanted a painting, do not feel you don't want to burden me. On this day, I mother my Lucia by painting in her name. I just ask that you please please please be specific in the comment section of this post about what you want. Here is what I need to know. Do you want to be included in the healing grid? In the grieving grid? Do you want an angel painting or a mizuko jizo painting? Whose name you would like to be included in the grid, and in whose memory (if that applies)? And what you are asking for prayers for? Please send me a private email with your address which is never shared or disclosed. If you are too shy to leave a comment, then send me an email with all this information. uberangie(at)gmail(dot)com.

Secondly, as you may or may not, I am opening my own practice called the Moon + Stone Healing. I am going to be writing at a blog there twice a week--Monday and Thursday. Mondays will be the Tarot card of the week. Hopefully, this will be a great series for those who are learning tarot and interested in going more in-depth with some of the cards. Thursday, I will be picking a crystal to discuss and share ideas on how to use in every day life, in grids, or with healing work. This week, I covered the Ace of Wands (which I picked randomly), and today, Black Tourmaline. I'm not going to link here every week, so bookmark. Feel free to ask questions there about crystals or tarot or anything that comes up for you. I'd love to field questions around that work there. You can like my new Facebook page for the Moon + Stone Healing to keep up on that work.

As always, I'm happy to answer any questions on this blog that you might have, or that you might think I have insight into, or write about any topic that might interest you. (Clearly, I am begging you for some blogging inspiration!) I have some parenting posts bopping through my head. My favorite thing recently is this picture my daughter drew at yoga class the other day when her yoga instructor asked her what made her happy.

Happy Kindness Day! Go pay it forward, and do something amazing in a baby's name.

Update: comments are closed on this post and all names and paintings have been completed for the July cycle.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


I cover the tarot spread with a silk. Nothing suspicious here, Gas and Electric Meter Reader. We are certainly not gypsy fortune tellers here. My sister laughs as he shuffles through our house, dodging the swings in the dining room. She gives me a side glance.

Who cares what the fuck he thinks?

I don't care. I just don't want to freak him out. He's a minister, he told me once. And he speaks three languages, lived in South America as a missionary. You have the Devil crossing the Star, there is almost no more satanic looking card combination than that.

I suppose I am still in the closet, and still anxious about judgment around being intuitive and using tarot. I am a good reader, though. I can see it now after reading out of the closet for a few years, and seeing how the cards change for people, and how I intuit the cards for people. There is the ridicule, which some say to my face. It's funny, this thing you do...I don't believe in it. I don't believe in New Age. 

I nod.

That does not offend me in the slightest, or alienate, or make me feel bad about my life. There was a trap in my writing. I tugged on my foot incessantly.

How can I get out of writing about Lucia's death when all I write about is Lucia's death?

I have to chew it off. That's the only way. Start a new blog. Under a pseudonym. Or continue to write as the large metal teeth bite into my leg. Even though grief doesn't bite me anymore. The garish accessory weighing me down, attaching it only to grief. No one even resonates with my grief writing anymore, because the grief writing isn't so desperate, raw, important for me. It isn't my oxygen mask, like it was four years ago.

The letters on my keyboard were worn black. I have written the story of grief and loss a thousand ways. I type blindly, but here and there, I forget where the B is located, and it, along with the N, V, C, X, all gone. Typed away.

ealing was never my goal of grief. To integrate this experience, understand it, to learn, grow, become spiritually connected...that was my goal. her death opened the door for me. Not the first year, or even the second really, but later, when the grief drinking got more profoundly overwhelming. I stuffed the grief while simultaneously welcoming the darker emotions,  like anger, resentment, self-pity, the ones that jump on grief like a hobo train to some desolate migrant town in the desert. Anger, resentment, fear, self-pity--I called those grief. And maybe those emotions were justified, but these ceased being useful for me. They became the hindrance to integration. The missing her part was barely there. I never felt her. I lacked the imagination to see her at the age she might have been. I just was angry that no one seemed to understand the hole in me where she was supposed to be.

This spring, I was off the moon cycle after nearly two decades of vleeding, I mean bleeding, in the darkness and opening in the fullness. It was the harbinger of having an autoimmune attack. I grew ill again this Spring. Something foreign I was putting into my body. I was so conscious of it, in a way I had never been, feeling the illness grow in me, spread within my abdomen and my muscles. My doctor has finally diagnosed this as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, rather than allergic to everything. I have found a diet--without sugar or caffeine, or grains--that is making my stomach less grouchy, almost tame and loving. But this attachment to illness, I don't understand it...I hate being ill. Curse it. Spit on it. Refuse to give it power by saying its name. And it still rules me. It is no mistake that I became interested in healing my physical self through my spiritual and emotional selves. I soothe the wounds that lie deeply beneath the surface of me, and talk to my inner child self-consciously, embarrassingly. But it is working. Somehow.

I know my writing is strange and loamy, bones and rocks litter spaces between the words. I have a terrarium for writing, and it is why moss shows up so much in my posts. The truth is I can never remove Lucia from my writing--she is the catalyst for my spiritual growth. She brought up my proverbial bottom. Her death began the deep journey of sickness and dis-ease, and ultimately healing. And the grief trap, no longer feels like something holding me back, it is something I am slowly opening, pushing the secret tab that opens the jaws like a flower unfolding.

And all this searching for healing the spiritual sickness that lay dormant in me for decades, it brought me right here. I am opening my healing studio. It is called the Moon + Stone Healing. I invite you to check out my website, and give me feedback. If you have received a tarot reading from me, I'd appreciate a testimonial, if you can. Something I can use on my website. I'm going to be writing over there at the Blog, which is now empty. Each week, I am going to pull a tarot card, and a crystal to discuss. Maybe other things I'd like to discuss around spirituality and healing. So, come check it out. I'm not sure I will link here for there. Don't quite know what I am doing.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Life feels nuts and wonderfully delightful. Summer camps and circles of women and tarot readings and reiki and thoughts about when and where we will be in our life. My vision board keeps catching my eye. "WHERE TO LIVE NOW," it screams at me.

I just don't know, Vision Board.

There are pictures of dirt in our hands and our feet, mindfulness, and uncluttered wisdom, no credit card debt, and a nice little nest egg. We think we have a state we'd like to move, something we have fleshed out through years of discussions and passionate arguing about it. Truth is I need a community who will be open to my particular brand of kookiness, and hikes of spectacular beauty, and a place we can build a huge garden to feed us, maybe some chickens. I welcome the change, and I love my home, my feet in this mud here. My community of drunks and kooks keep me sane. But things are a-changing. No moss on this old croney stone. And, amazingly, the changes feel deeply true. Finally.

I have finished all my coursework for my Crystal Healing Certification through Hibiscus Moon. Laying on of stones, and whatnot, and who's it. The work is so peaceful, so right. Reiki and crystal healing and tarot readings. I am working on developing the offerings of my practice. I followed this path laid out before me, just followed it. It unwinded, unfurled, like a fiddlehead become a fern. I doubted the moisture was good for me, but I walked still. I feared walking too far from what was familiar, but I kept walking. One foot in front of the other--taking classes, signing up for weekends, reading books about things that seemed so esoteric as to be nearly useless in suburban New Jersey.

When I quit drinking, it wasn't easy. I craved a drink nearly every day for eight months with the kind of craving that makes you cry and shake and wish you were someone else. IT was another refrain in my head, "Bourbon. But no bourbon. Bourbon. But no bourbon..." I was afraid to drink and afraid to not drink. I hadn't felt anything but anger and fear in a long long time. I didn't drink, instead I listened to someone with more sobriety than me. I did everything she said, and she told me to do all kinds of crazy things--pray. Meditate. Make my bed. Go to church basements. Call people. Stand in front of a room of drunks and tell my story.

Telling my story is part of my recovery. And sometimes my story coming out of my mouth hardly sounds like my story. It sounds like a novel I once read, a dark tome about sins and redemption. I had a baby once who died. It is only a part of my story. Until she was in my belly, I never knew true happiness. I was abstinent from alcohol then, but not sober. She was this light in my life that drew me to a holy place. I was finding my spiritual footing again, and feeling grounded, lovely, beautiful...sacred. When she died, I lost my spirituality along with my daughter. They were incinerated, and I was given a heartbreakingly tiny urn filled with something that no longer was my daughter or my God. My drinking became dark and overwhelmingly not fun. There was no illusion of social niceties, or the sophisticated sipping of wine. It was bottles of wine and bourbon. I wrote and read about death, breathed it into my lungs. I covered myself with black signs that read, MOURNING. FUCK OFF. Sloppy cries and a existence that can hardly be called existence, and I would know I had to stop drinking. It wasn't my solution anymore to the gigantic hole in me. I'd stop, but then the drink seemed like it had to be better than the pain. And this went on until I decided that I wanted another baby. And then I didn't drink, and my life got worse. My solution was gone, and I was bereft.

Grace. Amazing grace...that saved a wretch like me.

There is a path we walk that unfolds in front of us, like a palm opens in the jungle. Coiled in on itself until it is not. It is wide and broad and accepts the sun and rain in equal gratitude. I had no idea where I was going. Nothing seemed connected. I quit drinking and people told me to pray and remember that deep within me lay something Divine. In each person, they whispered, is the memory of God. And when it felt right, I did it, and when it didn't, I gracefully demurred. And suddenly, it all falls into line and makes sense. This is exactly where I am supposed to be, I realize later.I learned what I was supposed to learn. I walked the path I was supposed to walk, and for the first time in my life, I didn't fight it. I didn't fight me. I was unnerved at times, wanting to know how, when, who, where...and then it was over, and I was right where I am supposed to be, not seeing the end, not quite, but feeling settled in my own old bones.

I have completely upended my diet again. It is upside down--all meat and veggies. No grains. No sugar. No caffeine. Some nuts and berries.

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRROWL~there is something distinctly bear-like about the food I am taking in. I have gone inward, taken a hibernation of sorts. I scratch against small trees, knock them over, moan loudly at salmon. Knock down beehives for a little sugah, and never really getting any anyhow. But I feel good, not so padded and slow. The grains make me lumber, on all fours, itchy and pimply.

I have decided to go for my healing business, and what I mean by that, is not wait for things to come, and maybe I get some clients trickling in, but to go for it. Advertise. Write copy. Start a website. Try. I've also begun the process to be ordained as an Interfaith Minister, so I can do spiritual counseling. It is such a strange thing to get an email addressed to Rev. Angie. This drunk. This grieving mother. I may start a religion for grief--it is a compassionate one, where we learn to cry and pray and lean on each other. One day, I realized, after trying all the religions I encountered, that they are right. I had tried to fit myself into one Church, one path, but what if it doesn't work that way? What if that limits God and the Divine? Maybe it is all the paths. Each one is right in their way. The Prophet of Pluralism, I once wrote about myself, like a self-fulfilling title. When I began inquiring, I wrote the ordination committee, and told them about Lucia. I told them about my writing and about the other women and about sobriety and about the circles of people I have joined, the way we sit and abide and speak and make sacred. And she wrote back, "WOW, what a perfect candidate for the ministry you are!" And I sat staring at the note, thinking "Me? Yes, of course, me."

I stare at this enormous black tourmaline in matrix sitting next to my computer, absorbed all the bad juju from my computer. And I think about nourishment and healing and how full you feel when you walk the path set in front of you, lined with berries and prayers. There is a soft candle always lit around my house--it started with her, and continued on a path of its own.