High Park Fire – Day Five

Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons – some rights reserved by Handy7390

I do have a more upbeat post about the fire that I’m working on and I’ll probably put it up on Friday, but I just wanted to give you an update and I know many of you who don’t live in the area are concerned. As the focus for this blog is Energy and Healing, it seems a little strange to be writing about current events affecting my smallish community, but I guess it’s still energy in all of its forms.

Fire is so important in many spiritual traditions. It can be cleansing, and also destructive – but I keep seeing the image of the Phoenix in my mind and this helps me to say in a positive space. But more about that later in the week…

You can watch the news and get the gist of the situation, but I think it’s different when you hear directly from a resident of the area. As the days wear on, the national news coverage seems to get sparser – maybe because it is now more like old news – but it is obviously still very current here in Fort Collins. We’re reminded of the fire by the ever present thick smoke, the sound of bombers and helicopters flying back and forth and the presence of forest service firefighting equipment around town. It’s somewhat surreal.

Here’s what we have been told today:

  • Containment is still listed as 10% today with an additional 3,000 acres or so burned in the last 24 hours. The total burned area is now listed as 46,600 acres.The biggest area of concern right now is the area of the fire to the north and west.
  • One of the reasons firefighters are worried about this particular area is that it’s composed of about 70% of trees recently killed by pine beetles. They’re basically matchsticks waiting to explode.
  • Some residents have been allowed to go back to their homes in areas that were not burned.
  • The Larimer Sheriff’s department is starting to take inventory of the buildings that have been damaged/destroyed and they’re talking with evacuees on an individual basis. So far, the number of buildings destroyed is around 120.
  • They are still evacuating new areas on the northwest side of the fire as that part is still completely out of control.
  • We have about 1000 people now fighting the fire and a large air attack force now in place.
  • Firefighters are working to make a stand at the Cache La Poudre River, hoping to keep the fire from crossing the river and continuing north.
  • One bright note is that many people had time not only to save themselves during the the evacuation, but also to save their animals. A large number of large animals as well as pets have been saved. The large animals are being housed at our local fair grounds and many pets are being cared for by the Larimer Humane Society – over 250 of them. Several veterinarians have also opened their kennels for overflow from the humane society. If you’re itching to do something to help, LarimerHumane.org is taking financial donations to defray the costs of this very large influx of animals.

So that’s what we know today. Thank you to all of you here on the blogosphere for your words of encouragement and concern. Your positive energy, thoughts and prayers warm my heart and help raise the vibration for my beloved community.

Love,

Cathy

High Park Fire – Day 3

Smoke from the High Park Fire, June 11

Woke up to an eerie calm this morning. I think I used that word in my last post. It’s not one I employ often, but it seems appropriate again today. No wind and no sound of cars nearby.

While we’re not being evacuated, the main road that we use to get to our home was closed last night around 7 p.m. I hoping to be able to get back in when I come home from work tonight – and I have a full day at the office – seven clients.

We live just on the edge of the foothills overlooking Fort Collins. Not many trees around us and very little to burn on our house, but still. Until five years ago, we had a cedar shake roof – perfect combustible material (we’re not the ones who built this house). So, being concerned about just this kind of situation, we spent the big bucks and had a stone-coated steel roof put on. At this point, I’m so glad we did.

When the road closed last night, Peter and I decided to pack some things in case we got the call to leave. The cat carrier is in the car so as not to freak out the cats. They hate their visits to the vet. We got clothes ready, and put important papers and valuables in the fireproof safe.

I just signed up for Twitter for the first time this week…can’t believe how valuable it has been. Seems like it is the best place for breaking news. The Larimer Sheriff’s department has been phenomenal in Tweeting information @LarimerSheriff. And you can follow the details at #HighParkFire if you’re interested. The news this morning is 37,000 acres burned as of last night and all in areas where people live…I can’t help but feel sad today. Hopefully with the wind down, firefighting efforts can succeed!

Cathy

Wildfire!

Yesterday, as Peter and I were heading out to do some errands, we looked up the hill. “Uh-oh,” I said. “Fire.”

A large white plume of smoke rose in the western sky behind Horsetooth Mountain. As we drove east into town, we could see that the plume was further west than Horsetooth, probably by two or three ridges over. I pulled out my iPad and started searching…High Park Fire, currently 200 acres.

As the afternoon wore on, the fire grew quickly to 2000, then 5000, then 8000 and by this morning it was estimated that it had grown to 14,000 acres. It’s close to Fort Collins, and centered in one of the most densely developed areas of the close-in mountains. The Rist Canyon area hosts many mountain homes and retreats and the people who love living in our Rocky Mountains, but work in town, have built permanent residences as well as weekend cabins “up the hill.”

Last night, after dark, I went out to the street and looked north and west. An eerie glow formed where the smoke had been visible during daylight. As I stood there in the quiet I said a prayer for the firefighters and for all of those who had been evacuated – some of whom are friends and clients.

At this point, the fire is not contained at all. And the Larimer County Sheriff is continuing to order evacuations as the fire travels. With the emphasis on human and animal safety, he is working valiantly to make sure that no lives are lost.

In the past, I have talked with many of my clients who live in the area affected by the fire. When asked about fire danger, without exception, they say that they know of the risks, but the beauty and serenity that they glean from living in this special place is worth it to them. And Coloradoans are tough folk.

I’m sure there’s a higher purpose at work here. And it may be some time before all involved get to know what that is. And I’m sure that higher purpose will be different for different people. All we can do at this point is trust and serve.

Love,

Cathy

©CathyUlrich and LargeSelf, 2012

Cultivating Intuition – Listen!

Photo courtesy Flickr Creative Commons – some rights reserved by Mads Boedker

It has now been twenty-five years since the connection to my intuition was forever cemented. I think I inherited my intuition from my mother. But until that fateful day when it asserted itself so strongly and I continued to ignore it with very unpleasant consequences did I finally learn to“hear” it, believe it and act on it.

I woke up on Saturday morning anticipating my parent’s visit. They were driving down to Miami from Atlanta and I planned to clean and shop for groceries prior to their arrival later in the afternoon. In those days, I was a serious athlete – a middle distance runner and competitive cyclist and on that day, my (then) husband, John, wanted me to accompany him on a bike ride.

As we discussed the plans for the day, I got a very strong sense that I should not go riding. I chalked it up to the fact that I had lots to do in preparation for my folk’s visit. But my husband was insistent. “I can ride the full fifty miles and you can turn around half-way at twelve and a half. You ride back by yourself, and get started with your cleaning and I’ll come back and help you,” he said.

My sense was “DON’T GO!” But because I wanted to get a workout in and I knew I wouldn’t have much time to ride or run while Mom and Dad were there, I decided to go. The sense not to ride was so strong that it kept on, even after I changed my clothes, got on the bike and started the ride. The voice in my head (and I don’t really hear voices, so don’t think I’m hallucinatory) kept niggling, nagging “Turn around, now. Stop and go home.” But I kept going.

Well, I did ride the twelve and a half miles to the turnaround. I said goodbye to John. He continued and I headed home. Within three minutes of our parting, I hit a large dip in the road, the seat post on my bike broke and I found myself face-down on the pavement with a broken tooth and a cut lip that was bleeding profusely. Some people in the neighborhood where I fell saw me go down, called 911 and a few minutes later, the EMTs arrived. I convinced them that I was O.K. as the bleeding had slowed, and we called my in-laws to come get me. After I was home, and my parents arrived, my lip began bleeding again and I had to go to the ER for stitches. While my injuries weren’t severe, the fall certainly put a damper on my visit with my parents and I had to see the dentist for repair of my front tooth. And fortunately, I didn’t end up with any facial scars…

Since that fateful day, I have listened to my intuition (well, for the most part). It made itself so clear and strong that I finally “got it!” That intuitive voice has a distinct vibration similar in it’s uniqueness to the sound of my husband, Peter’s voice on the phone. There is no doubt when Peter calls (even without caller I.D.) who is speaking. The vibration of his voice is different from anyone else’s and I know it immediately. Just like I know the vibration of my intuition.

Yes, I have been known to argue with it from time-to-time. Sometimes in a session, I’ll get intuitive information that seems really “out-there” and out of context. It will say: “Tell them this.” And bear in mind that these are bodywork and energy sessions. The client isn’t always coming for intuitive help.

I’ll go: “No way, they’ll think I’m crazy!” And after a short bout of discussion in my head, I’ll usually acquiesce. And always, it’s 100% right on!

These days, with the Energy Healing work and in developing my online course, I have come out of the closet and am more open about my intuitive abilities. I do offer them, now, as part of my services. But who would have guessed that this new line of work all started with a bike crash!

Have you ever ignored a strong intuitive hit and later discovered that you should have listened? I’d love to hear your stories!

Love,

Cathy

©CathyUlrich and LargeSelf, 2012

Ah yes, time!

One of my favorite blogs here on WordPress is elisacashiola.com. It’s entitled “The blog of a placement designer…” Elisa is a Feng Shui master as well as many other things.

I’ve been wanting to write a blog about allowing time for healing to take place. Just like Elisa says here, we often expect alternative healing to happen immediately. I’ve seen clients come to me after they’ve tried medical interventions that  failed. They want immediate results, otherwise, they don’t think the energy healing worked. The truth is that, while some results are immediate, the more common way energy healing works is that it, too takes time. I laugh when people seem to expect to be cured in one session and often say: “I’m good, but I’m not THAT good!” Your body needs the time to do the work and we may need to address more that one layer before we’re done.

Just like prayer, just like growing a garden, we set our intention, provide strong harmonizing rhythms and the body then needs time to do the rest. An analogy that I learned years ago from my Religious Science Practitioner training was this: it’s like planting seeds in a garden and then digging them up a few days later to see if they’re sprouting. In doing so, you kill the seedlings and have to start over. So do, or receive your energy work, know that it’s working and give it the space and time it needs to create balance and change!

Love,

Cathy

Family Ties

Beaded Embroidery by Cathy Ulrich as taught to her by her sister Becky

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about holding one’s vibration when confronted with the challenges of old family dynamics. When we’re in a process of questioning beliefs and life patterns, exposure to some family members can make us feel as if we’re back to square one. But today, I want to talk about a different kind of family dynamic, one that I got to experience in all of it’s richness. One that I’ll treasure for a long time…

My sister, Becky, came to visit last week. Becky lives in Georgia, where we grew up. I now live in Colorado. Yes, of course we talk on the phone, text frequently and stay present in each other’s lives, but when we get to see each other, it’s a very special time.

While Becky and I had been close as kids, much of our adult relationship was through our parents, especially our mother. Mom would keep us both appraised of our respective lives and when I visited Atlanta, Becky and I would visit, but our interactions, for the most part, revolved around Mom, and to a lesser degree, Dad. It was as if, we all agreed to re-form that family dynamic, especially the part about acquiescing to our father’s needs and demands. We would go on short road trips, because that’s what Dad liked to do. We’d even sit in our respective places (from our childhood) in the car – Dad driving, Mom in the front passenger seat, me behind Mom in the back, Becky behind Dad. Even though we were adults with families of our own, we replayed this scenario every time I visited!

When six years ago and in a span of five months, both our parents died, Becky and I were thrust into a new world – one in which we only had each other as original family members. We were left with our grief and our parent’s home in a failing economy and a housing market in Georgia where the house lost half of its value in less than a year. When we could not sell the house, which we tried to do twice, we decided to rent it and use the rental money to maintain it.

We eventually discovered that we had built up a nice little nest egg from the rental proceeds and Becky had a brilliant idea. “Let’s start a travel club! We can let Mom and Dad pay for our trips.” Rather than dividing the money and spending it separately, we both agreed to keep it in a special fund – one that we would use to travel together. Becky loves the West, so our trips have been focused on places within driving distance of my home.

So last week we went to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We hiked, we kayaked, we shopped – we even let Mom and Dad buy us matching handbags. And we laughed, talked, beaded (Becky is a beading artist and owns a bead store), shared our challenges and dreams and discussed where we wanted to go for our next trip.

I love my time with my sister. The joy that we share, I think, is a combination of sharing a common heritage and a commitment to a friendship that has simply become rich in the past few years. Vibrationally? I suspect we do have a similar inherent vibration. While we don’t look a lot alike, our voices do sound alike. When I met Becky’s 6-month-old grand daughter, the beautiful little girl leapt towards me from her grandmother’s arms. It was as if she was saying – “Oh look, another Grammy!”

The thing is, we’ve both committed to our own personal growth and that growth has allowed a space for each other. Do we see eye-to-eye on everything? No, not really. Becky is committed to something I would probably call a more traditional Christian perspective, but she’s truly spiritual in her appreciation of the nonphysical. I’m committed to a spiritual perspective without the religious overtones. But our love for each other has created a space where we can both talk about our “beliefs” without feeling judged or threatened. And we don’t try to convince each other that either is right. It’s a nice, clear, lovely vibration and I feel so blessed to share it with her.

When we got back from Steamboat, Peter suggested that the three of us go to the Grand Canyon in the next year or so…And Becky said that she would love to ask him to join our Travel Club from time to time! So who knows where we’ll go next? But I can tell you right now, it will be fun!

Love,

Cathy

©CathyUlrich and LargeSelf, 2012

Cultivating Intuition – Create!

Northern Lights – Digital Painting by Cathy Ulrich

I suspect I’ll be “preaching to the choir” here with many of you about this one, but it’s one of my favorite ways to cultivate my intuition. That is: creativity. I love to write, paint, draw, play the piano, knit, bead and cook among other things. I find that when I’m in that creative space, ideas flow freely and time dissolves.

Have you ever noticed that when you’re doing something creative, you forget everything else? You become immersed in the present, in the activity. When I’m in that space, it feels as if I’m connected directly to Source. My mind is clear, focused and present while I’m painting or playing my piano. And I get lots of intuitive hits.

The idea of Right Brain thinking versus Left Brain thinking is a possible and intriguing theory around the connection between creativity and intuition. When we’re in a space where we are creating something new, we’re using a part of our consciousness that’s plugged into source – that Right Brain, holistic side that opens and invites creation in all of its facets.

I once heard someone say that when we create, we’re surprising God! And since the very nature of the Divine is creative, we become one with its essence. How can we not be connected to receive intuitive information in this space?

So, I invite you to allow some time this week to create. For you wonderful bloggers out there, you’re already writing. I invite you to write but avoid editing at the same time. Separate out those activities. Write first, then go back and edit – you’ll stimulate your creativity even more.

For you visual artists, I’d suggest that you spend some time this week painting or drawing. If you love arranging flowers, set aside some time to pick out a beautiful bouquet, arrange it and find the perfect place to display it in your home. And if you don’t think of yourself as an artist, check out this website. Zentangle.com It’s a wonderful and creative way of drawing that anyone can do.

What do you like to create? And how do you feel when you’re doing it?

Love,

Cathy

©CathyUlrich and LargeSelf, 2012

Cultivating Intuition – Savor the Silence

As the energies in our world speed up, all the “shiny” things in our lives become more and more enticing. Internet, social networking, streaming video, television, smart phones, mobile devices – all vie for our attention. But when and where do we allow ourselves to stop and notice what’s going on for us in our inner world?

A few years ago, a dear relative and friend came to visit. She has a hectic life and she loves to come to my home and stay for a while. It’s always wonderful to see the stress in her face melt as she relaxes into the resonant field that Peter and I have created. One day, as we were sitting outside in the courtyard, listening to a meadowlark singing, she said: “You know, I could never live the way you and Peter do. It is silent in your home. Aside from the jazz that you play while making dinner, there’s never a T.V. running. There’s no background noise. If I did that, it would make me feel more intensely and probably drive me crazy. I’m not sure that I could.”

When I did the Religious Science Practitioner Training many years ago, one of our exercises was to turn off the radio in our cars for a week – just to drive around without any noise in the car.  It was astounding to see how many people in the class found it hard to do this simple exercise.

The best vacation I have ever had was the five days of silence I spent with Lola Jones and a fabulous group of people in Lola’s special retreat. The purpose of the silence was to eliminate any distractions so that we could all cultivate a closer relationship with the Divine – to be able to get our nourishment, insights and support from within, rather that seeking outside of ourselves for answers. It certainly worked for me. Not hearing my own voice, nor that of others, allowed me to feel the Presence within me and, while I have always had a strong intuitive sense, the five-day retreat strengthened it beyond measure.

With all of the distractions, the “shiny things” in our lives, pulling our attention this way and that, it can be a challenge to hear/feel/know of that guidance that only comes from within. Savoring silence is one of the best ways to feel it. So even if it is only for a few minutes a day, allow yourself a time of silence. You don’t have to actively meditate or work at it (although it may be work, at first, for some!). Just turn off the radio in the car as you drive to work. Turn off the T.V. for 30 minutes before bed. Silence your smart phone and avoid the temptation to answer that text message.

See what insights come to you when you give yourself this gift. Then send me a quick comment and let me know how it’s going.

What other ways have you found to cultivate silence?

Love,

Cathy

©CathyUlrich and LargeSelf, 2012

Through the Eyes of the Divine

This weekend, I was blessed to read Gina V’s wonderful blog posting “Walk the Talk,” In it Gina shares a story of how she shifted her perspective of her mother by choosing to look at her through God’s eyes. By changing her viewpoint, she was able to let go of old judgements and stories and simply love her mom as she was. Their relationship became richer and easier after that spark of enlightenment.

Recently, I did a healing session with Jade (not her real name). A wonderful and beautiful healer herself, Jade was having problems with recurring dark spots on her face. She had a sense that there was something bigger going on in her subconscious, but couldn’t quite put her finger on it and wanted my help to see about uncovering any buried treasure that could be the root cause for the spots.

While setting the intention of shedding light on Jade’s issue, I began a physical scan of her body. As I moved my left hand through her field from her head towards her feet, I felt a strong pull and a sense of heat over her heart. Then as I moved my hand away from her body, the heat became stronger.

It seems that many emotional or physical traumas, especially those that are not fully resolved, tend to stay somehow fixed in our energy field, kind-of like a rock in a stream. The stream moves around the rock, but that rock impedes the stream’s flow. And, somewhat like the rings of a tree, those “energy lesions” seem to travel with us, the older ones being further from the body and the more recent ones, closer. So it’s possible to estimate when something may have occurred in a person’s life that is still present and, perhaps, even the root cause of the physical manifestation. I don’t usually know what the trauma was, but I can estimate when. The client fills in the details. Then, by harmonizing that lesion at the place where it’s stuck in the field, it can move and be resolved.

As I was scanning Jade, I said: “I’m finding an imbalance in your heart and it seems to have started when you were about six or seven years old. Any sense about what that might have been?”

Jade began crying softly. “It was when my parents divorced and my father remarried. My step-mother was really mean to me. At the time I couldn’t understand why my Dad did that.” She said: “God, Cathy, I’ve forgiven them, and I thought I had resolved this years ago, but you’re right, it’s still there!”

Jade shared how this time in her life had molded and shaped her way of viewing herself. As a child, she took on the challenges of her family and it affected her ability to fully love herself. And as much as she had worked, released, forgiven, loved, there was a piece that had been buried, waiting to be moved. We both agreed that this was, most likely the root cause of the dark spots on her face.

As, I gently pulled my hands through Jade’s field, smoothing and harmonizing the lesion, we both felt the heaviness lift. Her tears of sadness turned to tears of joy and we both laughed as the field changed.

At the conclusion of our session, I left Jade with a final suggestion – something to play with and to reinforce our process. “Jade,” I said, “How about when you look at yourself in the mirror, look at yourself through the Divine’s eyes?”

“I love that!” she said. “I look at so many things and people through the Divine’s eyes, just not myself!”

What if enlightenment is really about looking at this life through the eyes of the Divine? Even looking at those who challenge, even looking at ourselves through those eyes? I invite you to try it today and let me know how it goes.

Love,

Cathy

©CathyUlrich and LargeSelf, 2012