Sherman’s Beauty Salon with Infinite Ways LLC: A Three-Generational Business

Business Write-Ups, Magic City (of the Plains)

Sherman’s Beauty Salon was founded in 1952 by Arlene Sherman and has resided at 522 E. 17th Street in Cheyenne, Wyoming since 1972. It is the oldest running salon in the state, gaining it much popularity and a vast variety of clients. Mainly, clients know it because it’s familiar to them; its clientele history consists of many mothers, grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers. First started in 1952 by Arlene, who was passionate about hair since her early childhood days, her daughter, Penny, joined the business in 1972 (when it relocated to its current location). Previously, Arlene held her business first at her home in Orchard Valley in Cheyenne, and then moved also to 1420 Logan Avenue, the second location.

Many know this as a homey, family-run business with reliable, high-quality service from hairstylists — who have spent quality time becoming acquainted with hair. It’s become a place that is always busy– a hub for the community to gather. Coffee is always offered, and donuts are offered on Fridays (as I was there to witness). In my witnessing, I also noticed that it’s true how clients truly have loved this salon for ages and continue to return– I was there while the oldest attending client was also present: Marion Barnes, who has been loyal to Sherman’s Beauty Salon for nearly fifty years.

Cally Turse, the granddaughter of Arlene and daughter of Penny, began casting her own essence into the salon a few years ago, with the introduction of the practice of henna art. Many people in the artistic and holistic community know Cally for her beautiful and intuitive henna designs– but also for massage. While Cally provides a variety services as a jack of all trades in the holistic arena, she says she focuses on a well-rounded whole body wellness throughout her practices (mainly massage). Her practices include: massage, reiki, henna, professional hula hooping and teaching it, and more recently, teaching yoga.

She gathers her innate massaging ability from the root practice of forming pottery as a teenager, which then evolved into a natural knack for massage: intuitively working through lumps and bumps with the hands. She became aware of how to naturally smooth these out, and so her interest in massage began. She was certified and licensed at age 19, and has been doing massage ever since– 16 years total. She says the range of most massage therapists’ careers is from 3- 5 years. There have been times she’s wanted to give up due to the bodily strain the intense muscle work causes, but her passion for it has continued, and she has grown to adopt a consistent movement practice- mostly through yoga practice—so this is a talent she wouldn’t want to give up. Cally is also a reiki master, and offers reiki through a full session or even entwining it into her massage work depending on a client’s needs or wants. She has been practicing reiki as a reiki master since 2013.

She has been a successful massage therapist throughout her entire journey, but only recently officially titled her business Infinite Ways LLC (June of 2017), and through it has officially offered all of her services ( see https://infinitewaysllc.squarespace.com). This includes her span of skills and offerings : massage, reiki, henna and hooping, and yoga. Her website offers the option of booking massage and reiki sessions, small gatherings of in-person yoga sessions, and finally, henna sessions. Currently she’s not offering hooping lessons, and this, she says, is because “everything changes”, like the needs of herself and her community. She loves connecting with the Cheyenne community and believes that Sherman’s Beauty Salon is one of the paramount landmarks of the Rainsford District, which she has called home throughout her whole life. The salon is close to her heart, as her grandmother’s legacy now lives through Penny Sherman, Cally, her husband Rob, and their two daughters.

So, it is an exciting honor to announce that Infinite Ways has now joined the Sherman Beauty Salon space, featuring an extravagant new remodeling of the space with a massage/ reiki room at the back. The walls are painted sky blue and light pours through the window at the back of the room. In my initial visit, a spiderplant hangs above the mirror. A sink is included, good for optimal sanitization. The room is entirely special with a beautiful rug like an abstract colorful painting, unique furniture, and a heavenly vibe.

Cally’s Infinite Ways space– photo by Cally Turse.

The founders of this amazing space, Cally and her husband Rob Turse, worked hard but fast to make it the perfectly unexpected addition to the traditional salon. Cally is now excited to offer what she does best in a more suitable atmosphere: helping people in the community cultivate life energy and move through the ebbs and flows of life with more ease and grace. Experience this lovely atmosphere by contacting Cally through her website listed above, or booking a session from the site ( infinitewaysllc.squarespace.com ). To book a session for any of the salon services, contact Sherman’s Beauty Salon at 307-638-9348.

~Camille M. Garcia

A Wish in Disguise

Creativity / Art, Nonfiction

Sometimes, we must realize we already have what we say we want: it may just be in disguise.

One literal version of this comes from working at a health food store in Lakewood, Colorado— a place I had never dared to live before. I’d run into a customer there, one with gray hair that reminded me of a folk singer. Sometimes you can tell such things about a person, just upon meeting them. We had a conversation about the items she was purchasing : all of which I resonated with or had also purchased before. I told her I liked her “mask”: a silk scarf displaying puppets. She said, “Finally, someone who gets it!”

After she left, I thought, “I wish we could be friends”. I felt like I knew her, though certainly I’d never come across her in this lifetime. She just reminded me of a familiar type: a folk singer born somewhere around the sixties.

After quitting my job, after an encounter of drama I tried to mend, I ended up in Morrison at the bar. I walked in to the back room and immediately recognized Donna, the woman who I’d met but hadn’t seen since January 1st. We’d spent New Year’s Eve together along with many other friends. She told me she was a folk singer for different bands back in her day. And that she was a caregiver for her parents. We embraced and talked to catch up. I told her I was now working at that health food store in Lakewood, to which she exclaimed, “I go there ALL the time!” Apparently to my specific location.

She said she was there at least once or twice per week. I said, “I’ve probably run into you before, then.”

And then I remembered:

“Were you wearing a puppet mask?”

And then the recognition hit us both. I couldn’t detect her newly aged hair under the red tinted reflection from the lighting of the dim Morrison bar. It had looked, from this perspective, like the same color it was the first time I met her.

I couldn’t believe I had made a wish, not knowing it was someone, an acquaintance, I’d already met. We HAD already known each other and had become friends the first of the year. I hadn’t expected to see her in Lakewood, because I wasn’t coordinating my space and location properly (not living in the space long enough to realize). She had told me she lived down that road, and I wouldn’t have been able to process that it was so close.

Do we have more experiences like this:

Wishing for something we already have— just not recognizing it?? Or perhaps the lesson is that we think what we wish for is unattainable, when in God’s reality, it is already ours.

The Hair Corral

Business Write-Ups

The Hair Corral was adopted by Donna Haywood from the original owner, Debbie Raymond, in 1993. Originally, this was a group of three women performing haircuts and styling based in a shopping center in Kittredge, Colorado: an eclectic, funky town.

Donna has had a passion for hair and beauty since age 15, when she first attended a beauty school where she graduated at 16 years old. For four years after her first beauty school, she worked at businesses in Lakewood doing esthetician and barbering work. She furthered her schooling and beauty education later by attending Orchid Beauty School in Denver, where she worked after that for two years, and then branched into working at another hair salon in Lakewood for fifteen years.

Her career as a hairstylist has been consistent for a largely professional amount of years, and she says her motivation to continue with this work stems from her gratification upon creating new appearances for her clients, and then seeing the excitement on their faces.

She specializes in styling hair fitting to the shape of someone’s face, creating the perfect fitting look. This process has become more intuitive to her over the years, as she enjoys examining her client’s intuitive desires first before cutting hair. She also thoroughly enjoys and specializes in hair color—and is also very intuitive about what colors might be best for someone’s appearance. She will work with whatever you have in mind, bringing your best vision of yourself to life. Another aspect she likes to work shaping and coloring hair for a more youthful appearance, if that is what one desires.

Hair Corral at Nick’s Pro Fitness was established in February of 2019—a small and quaint location within the upstairs location of the fitness center. The outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic has affected business, as it has all hairdressing businesses, but Donna complies with the CDC guidelines for hairdressers. Furthermore, she only works on one client at a time since it is a solo salon, and enjoys the personal one-on-one experience with her clients. Donna is one of the most friendly and talkative personalities. Her fun and humorous presence will make you feel at home, and fill you with knowledge as your hair transforms minute by minute in her salon. She’s rich in knowledge and experience in the Evergreen community.

Nick Kapande, owner of Nick’s Pro Fitness, says he values the addition of Donna’s hair salon at his site because “it’s great to have everyone here to get our customer’s needs met in one stop.” Other services at Nick’s include a spa featuring massage therapy, and another section featuring Cryo therapy—an effective therapy for inflammatory disorders and injuries . Other services included as a fitness service are TaeKwon-Do and Yoga (see nicksprofitness.com for more information).

            Visit soon or book your appointment today!

~Camille M. Garcia

manifesting mancos

Blog, Travel Blogging

There is one good thing about procrastination. Or maybe procrastination would even be a form of self-gaslighting, as I had already attempted calling the Colorado DMV at least 7 times and never got ahold of them until finally, two weeks before my Wyoming license expired for good, someone answered the phone.

“Well, every DMV in Colorado is booked until December.”

“Well, I’m pretty sure I’ll get written up and something bad will happen if I don’t renew it by September 30th. And I have to do it in person since it’s out of state.”

“Well, sorry, we’re all booked until December 15th. You could try the Cortez DMV. Let’s see… they have a slot open on September 30th!”

Excitement and tears welled up in my throat. What many would have perceived as a major setback or hassle: driving seven hours to CORTEZ, Colorado — the VERY southwest corner of the state just to renew ones license — I was overfilled with joy and bewilderment.

I immediately felt as though I was being pulled into the vortex of my third novel I’d started, taking place in the 1960s, in which a senior horticulturist college girl sets out on an intuitive mission from Colorado Springs to Southwest Colorado in search of her missing best friend who is a passionate women’s rights activist in 1967.

She ends up finding her missing best friend at a diner, a recommendation from a psychic gypsy she meets by stopping by a home emanating a welcoming energy at 3:30 in the morning, comfortable weather in July. Marcia and Diana then venture on a journey through New Mexico and then further to Mexico, meeting many traditional cultural healers as well as stray cats on their way.

So I felt as though I had written myself into my own words— following that discarding ceremony of the depressing original story into the river from the Bailey bridge that day this January (see https://engravingbeauty.wordpress.com/2020/06/29/the-magic-of-rewriting-fictional-stories/) . Though this has taken awhile to turn around into a positive light, I did then and now still continue to experience similar parallel experiences to my own story. Any story written from one’s hand does come from somewhere, and can in fact be manifested into the outer environment.

An older photo from about 3 years ago, but relevant to where Marcia and Diana travel: the Rio Grande Gorge. Me playing Diana— before she even existed as a character in this time.

I had many errands to run before turning my life around for good that morning of September 29th, 2020. I had bonds to cash, bills to pay, savings to earn, work to come back to in three days. It was coincidentally my only four-day weekend as the schedule was transitioning. As soon as I frantically but gratefully finished my encounter at the bank, I called Christine (friends from Evergreen who had moved to Durango) and she and John spontaneously agreed to allow to stay there… that same night! And hesitantly I asked for the night after that too.

Though my dreams were fragmented, I made my travel journey through all my favorite mountain towns, including Bailey, experiencing segments of deja vu along the way. The colors of the trees changing that weekend were so surreal. A refreshment to the eyes. I was eternally grateful to have this journey, though only wished I weren’t alone. I was accompanied by the good phone company of Billy, my former roommate and native of Pagosa Springs, when I arrived closer to that destination. I remembered briefly some old coworkers who had been relocated to Pagosa, but knew I didn’t necessarily have all the time in the world to visit them.

I remember the places I visited distinctly possessing names that reflected names relevant to my dream music career- for example— the names of gas stations, bars, or other stores sharing the names of my favorite artists, the last name of my own former recording artist, etc. It was very serendipitous, and I hoped it would ring true in the near future to be following in the footsteps or, perhaps, placed in the direct path or artists such as these. I felt at home seeing these names on my way.

Finally, around eight or nine o’clock, I wound up the dirt roads through the outskirts of Durango listening to Joan Osborne’s “Relish” album. These songs and the moon that night were uncannily and mysteriously reminiscent of Marcia and Diana’s journey- especially “Man in the Long Black Coat”. I smiled with satisfaction even though many roads in my personal life were also just as rough… perhaps these roads led to a comfortable destination in the end.

I was greeted with embraces from Christine and John at their home, which had familiar old green carpets just like my first apartment, resembling green grass. I stayed in the basement suite, a sacred Native American and spiritual theme they had made into an Air BNB. I felt so welcome and so at home, unpacking my things onto the yellow daybed with an angel embroidery above it. I drank tea and basked under the emanation of the salt lamp by the bed with a Native American pottery painted comforter.

I woke up early – before 6am- to begin my journey from Durango into Cortez.

Now revisiting the premonition, I can see that perhaps the road did not lead to a positive outcome in the end: it is only my attempt at rewriting that could possibly repaint the canvas. I’ve always loved being creative but never thought I’d have to struggle upstream so much just to reach a more light-hearted destinatinon.

The early drive from Durango to Cortez was refreshing and adventurous. I noticed all the small cafes along the way, the ones that resembled the cafe that Diana ends up at in attempt at finding Marcia, early in the morning with the help of the house full of gypsy women. I made an effort to stop at one on the way back. After my peaceful stop at the DMV for a new license, I was wanting to follow their advice about which cafe would be an appropriate one to draw inspiration from. I ended up at one that was not one of their recommendations– but one very similar. I had breakfast, and then made a round around Cortez. I love being close to the New Mexico border, drawing from all the ancient and sacred energies present there. I noticed everything I could, but ended up driving back and stopped in Mancos, CO.

Mancos was more familar than either Cortez or Durango. I gathered this town was, in fact, one of the main settings I had imagined in my story. I felt alive when I set foot in Mancos, parking in the shade between downtown and the library, at the end of a neighborhood road. I walked around to all the art galleries, making connections with the workers there. I bought one pair of copper red chile glazed earrings, which I now wear proudly. Taking back the essence of Mancos in the form of earrings was satisfactory to me.

I also sat by a stream, following the guidance of a local who pointed out there were apples close enough to reach from the trees surrounding the stream. I picked one and washed it off in the river to eat. I was glad to have eaten something Mancos local. I walked into one art gallery and had a long conversation with Dana, the worker, who I told she looked like Frazey Ford. I found Mancos, overall, friendly and sociable, down to earth and deserty. I would have loved to stay there again, and found out from Barbara that I could with her assistance of the AirBNB she hosts there!!

My memories were bittersweet during this time, as I was still under lots of stress. But I felt the southwest corner of Colorado at least was happy to hold some of my pain and transmute it, for a short time. It was able to weave and inspire my stories, giving me room for inspiration for future writing. On my way back, I had many desires of places to be. The foremost place was Joyful Journey- the lithium hot springs out of Crestone. I drove straight there, and was happy to be accquainted with Cassandra and Jennifer, kindred writer spirits, who happened to be in the same pool at the same time. We talked about writing- fiction and articles. I was able to gather inspiration and information from them about more professional writing gigs. I kept in touch with Cassandra.

Upon leaving, I had this dream that I missed. But just before arriving in Bailey, I followed my curiosity by stopping at the Shaggy Sheep Cafe– a small, rustic green cottage. I met the owner, Sarah, who I found closely resembled Shannon McNally. I knew there was more to the story with this connection, and so am excited to explore further what that means!

Arriving back, I was enamored and content at the previous sun-basking and standing on the San Luis Valley. Nothing makes me feel more at home than connecting with that land. Though I felt my experience could have been fuller, I arrived home content and inspired for continuing Marcia and Diana’s journey.

Repainting the canvas or rewriting one’s original story is probably more of a control issue— but one that would at least lead to some contentment rather than disappointment. I admit it has been an upstream battle, but perhaps that’s because I haven’t fully committed to following the steps my writing presents as I’m writing the words. To follow the abstract instructions through ones writing is beautiful, and paves a path that truly becomes the path of your most significant dream. Or in this case, a 1967 dream. I’d encourage you to follow the prompts you find your own writing or that of a current book your reading, in whatever positive, creative inspiration it motivates you to take action upon.

See Infinite Alignment for personal retreat information, and guided information to align your heart and body.

https://www.infinitealignment.com

❤️Camille M. Garcia, 2020

God’s Relocation Schemes

Intuition, Nonfiction

Forward: I found this story about Pluma from 2015, scrolling through intuitively. It reminded me of my current relocation scheme; that perhaps God is working in the background things I can’t see. This is dedicated to anyone going through a difficult transition.

Transition into Clarity/ Pluma

I adopted a Betta fish from my coworker just as she was preparing for her move to Washington State. I was also moving the same week but only forty miles south so I agreed to take it– I hadn’t had a pet fish since I was a child. The fish came with a pink Hello Kitty square bowl, some pink plastic stones, and a small leafy plant. I thought that for a fish to live in a Hello Kitty bowl was ironic and couldn’t wait to relocate the fish to a happier home. As far as I could tell, it hadn’t done anything to deserve such a pathetic habitat. Its colors were much too vivid for that. 

It reminded me of a few things I thought I might name it for: a sunrise, a feather, or opal. Opal seemed to be a fitting name, simple and elegant. Its radiant pink body might as well be made of the stone itself. But the feathery blue fins radiating from its edges were equivalently beautiful. And although its body was much smaller than the sunrise, it glowed just the same and was almost as breathtaking. Feather and Sunrise didn’t sound like names to me, so I translated them to Spanish. Pluma or Sonrisa?

The car ride to our new city was uneven and bumpy with multiple rounds of braking. Water frequently splashed over the edges of the fish’s cube onto the passenger seat, causing my fish to dart around in panic. I could feel its fear. Once we arrived, I placed it in the corner of the kitchen counter. I wanted to buy something creative to place it in, although mostly for my own aesthetic pleasure. The sight of the sad pink cube encasing such a beautiful fish was a sad one.

 While at a thrift shop in search of some kind of dresser that same day, I came across a section of cheap glass jars. I bought one of the largest with the intention of placing my fish in it that day but found I needed more material to make its home more comfortable and purified, so set it on the counter beside my fish until I could complete the interior décor. The fish’s water evaporated and became dirtier the longer I procrastinated. I left it unattended for a few days, forgetting it had a soul. I forgot to feed it regularly and when I did, it acted starved.

 One night that week while making tea, the fish caught my eye. It was staring at me and I stared back. I noticed how adorable her tiny blue eyes were. She seemed to wave her blue fins at me in appreciation of my admiration. After much pension, I decided to name her Pluma for “feather”. It matched her personality best. Then I filled up the larger jar with water to let sit for a while in hopes of evaporating the chlorine so as not to harm Pluma.

During the next few days, I intended to find more plants and real stones for the jar so I could create a more colorful environment for my fish. Pluma thought she was safe in her current habitat, but anyone would have felt claustrophobic just looking at it. Guilt weighed on my conscience for leaving a living being to survive in a small, dirty, pink cube—what a miserable life! But that’s all the fish had ever known. How could she know if anything better existed in the outside world when her home consisted of only a few square inches? But somehow, I felt I didn’t have the time to search for those essential items so the water sat out even longer, becoming purer with each passing day while her current habitat became progressively foggier.

Until today, that is. This evening I finally had the time and the motivation to go to the gem store and buy stones to match Pluma’s colors. I washed them thoroughly then dropped them directly into the jar. There could’ve been a less noisy method of doing this, but the timing of events doesn’t always occur in their ideal order. Nevertheless, the stones now reside at the bottom of the jar and wouldn’t have looked different had I placed them there before filling it with water.

Through the opening of the fish’s cube, I picked out the plant with a fork. Pluma’s sense of security dropped outstandingly as her shelter disappeared. She couldn’t see how beautifully the stones reflected into the clear water and how the plant lay free-floating within the new home I’d created. I was so excited for Pluma to inhabit such a magically profound place. Though I never found time to buy a new plant as I’d anticipated, I saw that this sole plant would be suitable for now.

After attempting to scoop her out of the foggy water with various utensils and her resisting every time, I found a three-inch-wide Tupperware container to place inside and tried once again to scoop her up. Terrified, she squirmed rapidly around the bowl in attempt to escape this foreign object once again.

I had no choice but to wait until she happened to swim inside. When she did, I angled the container and scooped her up. Once caught, she ceased squirming. “See, this isn’t so bad,” I said out loud. “Just look.” With that, I dipped her inside the spacious jar filled with clear water. At first she only floated near the same leaf, motionless like before. I began having second thoughts. Maybe I should have researched more about what is and isn’t appropriate for Betta homes…

 I came back after awhile to find her swimming freely, dipping down to explore the real stones and swimming in joyous circles, grateful to finally possess clarity and space. She seemed to be even more amused with the same plant now that it looked fresher in this new atmosphere. I’ll find more plants later, but I knew living in the same claustrophobic Hello Kitty bowl would have killed my fish faster than not having another plant to play with. She didn’t need to have everything all at once since what she had now was obviously better for her wellbeing. She could feel in her fins that this new simple and spacious life was much better.

®Camille M. Garcia, 2015

Dismantling Layers of Inauthenticity

Nonfiction, Nonfiction Essays

I never would have imagined, that in my twenty-fifth year, I would have to be fighting for truth and authenticity– not just simply living it.

Yes– it seems we have reverted to a time in our culture history in which authenticity is no longer free.

I would have imagined myself at twenty-five free and confident to be myself. I am. But I have also noticed that the more exposed I become in bearing my heart, the simple and naturally caring nature of my heart, the more people feel the need to defend themselves, the more rejection I experience, the more I sometimes feel my own rights being threatened. And this, for awhile, was not the kind of world I wanted to be living in.

So why would I continue? Well, this is also a mandatory period in history. If we just simply drop out of it, we don’t have a chance to speak and expose our opinions. We wouldn’t have the chance to inform others of what is currently happening in this wild world. It’s not just people of African descent. It’s not just Hispanics. It’s not just racism. Yes, I have heard of the stories of racism but never took it personally. I do now, knowing that having the last name of Garcia may be a “reason” for judgment for some (even if the history behind this is of not only Mexican, but mainly Spanish and some Native American descent). Sadly, even I have become somewhat ashamed of my last name over the past few years due to my experiences, whereas I used to hold pride for my New Mexican heritage. I haven’t done all the research I can yet about similar stories. And of course, my stories are not nearly as dramatic as some. But what I have experienced recently seems very out of the realm of what most would consider the “good ol’ West”; it’s more like a battleground of fighting for freedom in a land of raceism, ageism, and growing perfectionism. I guess growth has to begin somewhere, and I know racism and ageism began long before twenty-five for many others. I have been lucky to have such a naïve and smooth adolescence period, and a fairly nondramatic early twenties.

What is ageism? The judgment of another for his or her age: it could be the judgment or prejudice of an older white person on a younger person, who attempts to befriend him. This is the type of ageism I’m referring to. However, we younger people can also make the judgment or underestimate an older person. Respect is still generally present in these situations I’m referring to, but a younger person still may be deceived by their own judgments of an older person. What we have to remember here is that older people were once babies, just like us. The problem is that the more years one has aged, the more likely they are to forget their infant nature, or to forget they ever were younger than twenty-five.

I can’t say that even I am not one to also dismiss or slightly judge my juniors. So how do we fix this dilemma of power, inconsistency of seeing other humans as equal? Any suggestions are welcome. Because personally, I know what it feels like to be under the pressure of perfectionism. Feeling as if I need to mask myself up before going out in public (masking under makeup, hairstyles, clothing, jewelry, etc) all for the show of “authenticity”– but in reality, being far from authentic.

Authenticity should be a natural thing. I haven’t received the greatest results from this practice. Another word for authentic is “genuine”, yet most people today perceive the word “authentic” to mean styling yourself up as much as you can, deriving this style from multiple media sources in order to look “different” from the crowd. Perhaps, say, you decide you’d rather look like a New Yorker living disguised in a small town in Wyoming, so you create a board on Pinterest full of things New Yorkans would wear. And you deem this your “style”. It sets you apart and different from the crowd. But, oh God– what do you do when this outfit is a little too extravagant for just taking a walk? Then you have to come up with something seemingly fitting for a walk around a neighborhood or park, in order to “fit in” but still be authentic.

So many contradictions like this exist. And I love style as an expression of self– don’t get me wrong. However, there does come a point in which it affects our mental health, and a point in which it begins to reflect or leak our into the external portions of our culture. How, on God’s not-so-green-anymore Earth, can we possibly begin dismantling the layers upon layers of inauthenticity in this lifetime, if we are going to stay in it? How can we manage to stay authentic and true to our hearts in a world in which suddenly we’re feeling threatened for being our best selves? In a world where the police can be called for simply speaking your truth, no matter how innocent the truth is? Please share your suggestions.

My suggestion would be beginning a blog, some of it related to your experiences in living your personal truth. Send healing to the world by holding it in your hands energetically, stating your peaceful intentions. If you do reiki, remember to send peaceful and healing light to the Earth regularly, because we could all use just a little more light in these dense times of darkness.

I have been in a fight to be heard since birth. There was something about the tubes in my ear canals that made it difficult to hear and hear myself speak. Then there was the chronic sinus congestion that prevented me from speaking up. Then there were the years of constantly being put down throughout elementary school, being deemed as a “quiet” or “shy” person who never spoke up for herself and perhaps may not have been able to. Now that I am choosing to speak up for myself, the more threats I am faced with. You wouldn’t imagine the ridiculousness. For some, it is a horrific tragedy to see a girl who never used to speak up for herself actually stand in her truth or use her voice. Some can’t take it, so they may do something so dramatic as calling the police because they are so unused to a girl having so much energy about her, using her intuition, portraying who she actually is rather than the masked version of herself.

There is one more category of judgment which I’d forgotten: the persecution of prophetic, intuitive, psychic, and holy people who may present themselves as healers, or may be healers in disguise. We are all holy and intuitive. We all have the power to heal ourselves and the outer world, consequently. But it is our intuition that may be deemed as a “threat” to others the more we use it, despite overcoming our chronic fear passed down through generations and lifetimes. People may be terrified when you know their thoughts or feelings, despite there being a good reason for this in which you may be able to significantly help each other. Or, people may be terrified that synchronicities occur, that Earth herself brings our footsteps together sometimes despite all other forces of separation coming between us. She does this for a reason. God does this for a reason. But we’ve lived in a world for so long, a world that has not particualrly been in the use of magic, trust, or intuition— and instead, the practice of fear-dominance has become the guiding force.

It’s no secret we are all connected. (See Threads of Destiny). However, the more years spent in isolation and hiding our true colors and inner wisdom, the more the world has adjusted to the opposite reality. To some, living in a world wide awake is so much less comfortable than living in a world drowsy and pretending to be asleep. So breaking the shell, breaking the mold of safety, might actually put one in a place of being literally unsafe for awhile. I guess we might just have to remember this, and that this is normal. Maybe if we can come together to share our stories, and choose to live together in love instead of fear, we can slowly dismantle the identity crisis of our world, back into a state of genuineness. Where love is safe to express. Where we can all once again feel safe to be ourselves, and not hide our colors from others. The layers have become so thick, it’s like chiseling down a glacier (a glacier before global warming began). It might hurt. This is where tattoos might become more popular, because we’re wanting to chisel away some of the layers of skin in order to feel seen or heard. We want the pain because we can stand it now, after all we’ve been through. And tattoos are able to break through layers of skin and create something beautiful.

So we just have to remember that we’ll be a living example of a tattoo on the world, voluntarily putting ourselves at risk for being vulnerable: but for a good reason. It’s to create an imprint of beauty on the world. We can’t let the world suffocate in its current state, choosing to let the ice melt slowly over the years instead of being a part of chiseling it down into a structure that symbolizes something by staying firm to our beliefs.

8 Year Anniversary

Short Story Excerpts

In celebration of my 8 year Anniversary with WordPress, I’m feeling inspired to share a segment of a short story I began almost 7 years ago and edited recently. The title is “Chamomile”. Character with my name not necessarily inspired by me. The full story is 10 pages.

Chamomile

My mother would coat the bottom of two mugs with honey and squeeze a fourth lemon into both, then carefully pour chamomile tea from her sunflower tea pot into them. We drank this nightly beginning with the first snow of the season that would occasionally fall in late August, ending whenever we didn’t need two heavy quilts to sleep at night, which usually didn’t come until early June. We would stare out the frosted window with five candles lit along its sill, out into the dark Wyoming sky. Her squinted eyes were usually fixated on nothing in particular that I could see, but clearly she was always focused on something significant.

She wore dark half moons under her eyes that revealed her deep exhaustion—not only from weeks of prolonged insomnia, but also from her exhaustion with the place itself.

            “This is such a sad place to live,” she once muttered while we were sitting inside watching a snowfall cascade down on one of those September nights, sipping our soul-warming tea which she believed was also responsible for us never catching any sicknesses that seemed to latch on to everyone else around us in that town. I called it Magic Tea before I even became aware of the healing and magical properties of chamomile. It sounded almost identical to my mother’s name, Camille, and for the longest time I believed that was the primary reason we drank it every night.

When I finally asked her, she told me we drank it because of its color: yellow.

“And did you ever wonder why we drink our chamomile with lemon and honey?”

she asked with a wink. They were all the same color as the sun, of course. She believed these yellow ingredients would infuse a kind of sunshine-y light into our souls when the sun went away for the better half of the year. When the first snow of the season came, we both knew we would not be seeing that mystical yellow sphere or absorbing its healing rays for at least eight and a half months. If we could not sit underneath the sun and absorb its healing light for this long, she said, at least we could drink the sun and have it shine from within us.

            I grew up with such beautiful thoughts as these planted in my head. She was a small woman with an enormous imagination and grand ideas. But for this reason, she swore we would abandon Laramie eventually. (Soon as possible, preferably.) I didn’t mind our “sad town”, because I’d grown up listening to stories of its beauty through my mother’s articulate narrations– yet she was completely oblivious to how the beauty of her words shaped my perspective of home. Whenever we took walks to the far side of town where weeds grew on the horizon of the pink and gold sunsets, she would point out specific wild plants and ramble on about their qualities and laugh when I called them weeds. “Oh, sweet Melody. These are medicinal plants, not weeds. When will you ever learn to use the correct vocabulary for such important beings in our ecosystem?”

            She was not a botanist. She did not even graduate from college at the University. She did, however, spend all of her life studying plants and herbs and all good things that come from the Earth. People adored her, generally, although some may have thought her crazy for believing in all she did.  On the way back from those walks to the far side of town, I was always exhausted. My mother, however, always seemed even more stimulated with energy, after having absorbed Mother Earth’s cool winds, energy surging through her veins. The wind blew the Earth’s life force into her lungs and it spread throughout her body, she said, which was the only reason she tolerated long walks in the wind. I enjoyed how the wind tangled my long hair around my head when we did this. Mother had always offered to braid my hair, but smiled satisfactorily when I finally admitted that I loved the wind’s embrace at such a young age—maybe seven.

® Camille M. Garcia

The Magic of Rewriting “Fictional” Stories

Soul heartedly

It’s barely a secret by now that my current reality, today at twenty-four, often begins to reflect and merge with stories I wrote when I was ten years younger. Fiction stories.

Though I was merely fourteen to sixteen years old at the time I wrote most of my best story beginnings, they were unusually mature. It turns out, as evidence would show, that the subjects don’t even have to represent ME to begin seeping into my life. And typically, my stories would include a character who represented me– whether at that current younger age, or [usually] older than that. I would have never imagined my life beginning to reflect the second beginning I once wrote in a completely different composition notebook. It was the second beginning to my first novel I ever started, called (tentatively) To Be Someone.

When I found that composition book among other books and papers on my bookshelf on January 1st of this year in my spacious and sunny room in Evergreen, CO (that I’d been renting for an absurdly lucky price) I shed some tears of disbelief upon opening it and reading the first story. It was a sad story; sadder than any I’d ever found written by my own hand before. I was in shock to find so many unfortunate parallels between my current feelings and this simple fictional journal entry from the 1960s that my original protagonist found on her taxi ride to the airport. Though it was entirely too sad and depressing to share fully, I thought that I had no choice but to attempt rewriting the story in order to reverse the effects.

But first– I suspected I would need to discard that story and rebirth it, sending it downstream to be reincarnated as something else. And I didn’t know exactly how long that process would take, though I hoped it would be immediately.

I once heard of a message in a bottle that my great-grandmother wrote, that was returned to her address, as she’d included that on her message. It was a brown scrap piece of paper, sent down a North Dakota river, found by a man with uncannily elegant writing in one state over. I thought how interesting and unlikely it was for someone in that time period to have a message actually returned to her, from one state over! I remembered hearing this but didn’t think of it when I had the idea to stuff my sad story into a former roommate’s mead bottle and send it down a river. Imagining this, I felt it would be a relief and a release, so that I could have freedom to create something new out of it instead of being tied to a story with a terrible ending.

I didn’t have any intentions of the finder, if any, returning the story to me… I only included some scrap pieces of paper with intentions for the finder (if any) to have peace, love, and harmony with the world. The opposite of what I’d created for myself with this subconscious story. Being so appalled by its relatable heart-wrenching contents, I tore it into thirds and stuffed it into a blue mead bottle with a tight metal wire latch cap that would definitely hold it for as long as needed. Years, or eternity, as long as the bottle held together. It was a sturdy bottle, after all. I thought that if I’d been able to fit the scroll of paper into the bottle as a whole, the finder could finish the story with a better ending. But I’d needed to tear the story in order to fit it into the bottle, and doing this, no one could ever rewrite it except for me.

I waited until one day when my friend from Bailey invited me to hang out by the North Fork South Platte River with her. It was the second week of January. Standing near the river, and then standing on the tall bridge, I thought I could remember distinctly scenes that I hadn’t yet written being part of this novel– perhaps something that had happened to a real-life characters in their youth in Colorado Springs in that time period, though I hadn’t done any research or heard of anything like it before. I could imagine their closeness and feel their presences, as though from past lives, as I tossed the bottle from the high bridge with the torn scraps of my story, intentions for the finder, and tokens such as small crystals packed inside into a crevice of freezing water between two strips of thick ice. I’d made a perfect basket (as if I’d ever played basketball) and my friend was impressed. She gave me a hug, excited that I had intentionally changed the storyline by discarding what I didn’t like didn’t have to die like– hopefully altering my destiny in a positive way.

I hoped that this simple but memorable action would heal a relationship and and create peace and stability in my life– with all those intentions I packed in there, gems included! It seems, however, that there is still something needed to tear through the cracks of myself to recreate the new future. Or, how do I separate myself from the characters in this story?? I didn’t know for sure how I would do that, and it didn’t occur to me that I had tied in aspects of myself to this story about two girls in the 1960s. Maybe I hadn’t chosen it; maybe it had been a part of me in a past life, or maybe I was sent to finish this story so that it didn’t happen again in the future (granted, the testing subject was myself, so I had all the freedom to color in as many various colors I wanted outside the box as needed).

The only other option that made sense to me in order to alter this devastating “destiny” was to literally rewrite that story, based on the entries I’d written from a lost journal that my fictional protagonist finds on her taxi ride to the airport. I’d planned on incorporating the journal entry, though I hadn’t typed it yet like most other segments, into the intended (still yet unfinished) first novel. But I’d never made it that far and for some reason could never bare to do it. I was always forgetting, or hesitating… and now I can gather that it may have been for good reason.

So I included in a separate journal some similar first entries from a missing girl’s best friend, and made sure to leave the plot line open for a more positive ending this time. And writing that, I was inspired to completely amend the entire story~~ weaving this into a new novel based in the 1960s. I hope to energetically separate myself from this one: a lesson I should have learned from writing my first novel at fourteen and being energetically vulnerable– but if I for some reason fail to do so, I will write a much better ending. It’s amazing to me how naturally and organically words and story lines come when they’re meant to be. It was devastating for me to see my life unfolding in such a way that I had no other choice but to attempt rewriting an entirely new novel… but at the same time, intriguing and meaningful– as though I’m on a mission for change.

The missing girl in the story is, after all, an inspiration and role model of adventure, women’s rights, and hope. I do have a title for this that I will probably not share until it is somewhat finished! I am looking forward to sharing more of my stories professionally, and maybe I should include segments of my novels here on my blog for you to visit.

Sally’s Angel

Nonfiction, Small Miracles

Every Christmas season, my mother’s family hosts a traditional white elephant party. We exchange creative leftovers of the lowest-scale junk from the depths of our darkest closest, including: old Barbies, meaningless or useless kid’s toys, horrible ancient sweaters, and comical party favors.

Though these items are predictable, they typically vary in some way each year. In other words, I wouldn’t receive the same ugly sweater as someone else received the year before. No– there is only one item sacred enough to be worthy of recycling itself among the same circle each year, and that is “Sally’s Angel”.

When the Angel was born unto this Earth, finished with a careless brushstroke atop a navy blue canvas, she was not blessed. Instead, the ear was dotted on the side of her face just in time for her to be welcomed with a condescending chuckle and the cruel proclamation: “This is the ugliest angel I’ve ever seen.” And how could an insult like this be any more condemning, coming as an utterance from the mouth of no other than that of her Creator??

The Creator didn’t even have the wit to sign her own initials; instead, she forged a crooked “HP” near the Angel’s head. If I hadn’t been there during the time of her creation, I would have been among those pondering the origin of this great mystery. Each year, the chosen one tears off the last of the wrapping paper and comes face to face with the glory of the strange angel.

The first reaction is always hysterical laughter, followed by a solemn gaze of pure confusion, and finally, the question:

“What’s HP?”

It was always my grandmother– never the true Creator– who would have to attempt explaining the details of the story to the group. She confessed it was a mock painting, not the original. My grandmother’s friend, Sally the artist and what some would consider a hoarder, had given her a painting of an “ugly” angel on canvas for Christmas one year. When my grandmother asked Sally what her inspiration was for this “lovely painting”, Sally poked her thumb up in the air a few times and whispered with divine force, “H.P..”

“What’s H.P.?” Grandma had asked.

“You know…” Sally responded, a solemn and secretive tone to her voice, “Higher Power.”

I could have never forseen myself becoming anything like Sally the artist, the hoarder, and the angel whisperer years later… but not long after the first year of her rotation, I began noticing signs. I could only take an educational gander at the giver of these signs, and I’m not sure how to explain it any better than H.P. (You know– Higher Power.)

And so there I found myself in a tiny apartment hoarding blank canvases and waiting for signs from H.P. to tell me what needed to be painted. I hoarded blank notebooks, mystically awaiting signs from H.P. to inspire my words. Then, there were those instruments basking in the dark corners of my rooms, some of which had gone untouched — waiting for H.P. to possess my fingertips and strum.

I commend Sally for her pseudo-humor, the seriousness with which she acknowledged Higher Power.

(Many thanks to Sally with your wisdom, Higher Power, and my grandmother for this inspiration of this post.💗❤️)

~C.M.G.

Tearing off the Masks

Soul heartedly

Do we really grow into ourselves as time passes by? Or do we draw further away from our true selves continually?

We are, essentially, the same person and the same soul as we were born as infants fresh into the world. We pollute, we embellish, we alter ourselves in nearly every way to perfection (society’s), heaping paint among the already heavy mask we wear. However, the paint becomes musty and the masks begin to collect dust as we think our way out of our hearts and into some kind of fogged-over reality.

We think that in order to have authority, we must have completed doctoral degrees, even if we’re dead by the time we achieve them. Even to write this essay, I’m clouded over by guilt of not yet having a completed degree in English. However, it’s probably best, in my opinion, to draw your words from the one true Source of your soul; your intuition, and document them that way— for this is baring the bare essence of your depth. We’ve forgotten that we have always had authority. When words come out of our mouths, they are best taken seriously because they are pure, raw, and from the Source.

After we take a walk, for example, and are inspired to take action upon something, we must be disciplined enough to take that action, because that action is under pure consciousness and is the only action that will positively impact the world at that moment, like a wave or a ripple. We, after all, are a part of the light, the Earth, the air, and all the elements. We have a part in creating energy on this planet. We have authority. To speak, to write, to play music to reflect the sounds of our own souls— or that of others, the planet, etc.

We don’t see our “growth” sometimes until we look back and compare 10 year increments. I came across a photo album which contained a photo of my 5th birthday party, along with a photo of my 15th birthday party below that. This year will be my 25th. These days, it’s easy to fall into the category of “nothingness” if one has been alive and breathing, contributing to the carbon dioxide on the planet for less than 30 years.

5th Birthday Party
15th Birthday Party

However, there was a time when 30 years was a common lifespan (in some places, right?). There was a time when 14 was the primary age for motherhood instead of 26.

What happens, exactly, in the space between those ten years now? Yes, growth is always occurring at any interval. In all your photo comparisons, growth is obvious. But are you simply carving your face, your hair, your body to society’s ideal of perfectionism, or is it your own? Yes, we are all shaped by societal norms. But are you, deep down, covering up the sparkles inside your soul that so desperately want to emerge to the surface? Are you so consumed by your idea of perfection that you have forgotten your original experience of true bliss —of being one with all that is, as you were, when you escaped the womb?

As I become more in tune with my soul self and quit the habit of suppressing the truth of my soul, I am able to recognize a photo of myself as a baby better than I ever have before. I begin to see myself as I really am, holding that picture of my infant self in my hands— honoring that life is really just about returning to one’s state of living judgment-free, seeing the world vividly and not being afraid to be alive— just like that baby.

Notice that I recall my baby self in first person possessive because I am beginning to remember that I really am the same person. Are you? Do you remember? Yes, I still detect some fear in my baby eyes. However, I also see a deep sense of wonder and curiosity, a willingness to go test out the world even if I just dipped one of those baby toes into the water at first. Even if the world was encompassed with copious amounts of fear and trepidation, I was still willing to go out and remember how to activate my own inner light to heal that in myself and in others.

I came to the realization, looking at the comparison of these past birthday parties, that life is just as expansive as you can make it. Days can be a little fuller with each one that passes. I, for instance, can choose to create opportunities for myself, as many as I want, in ONE day— which could have been equivalent to the experiences combined in one full year.

We need to savor the moments, the energy, the beauty, the ideas and synchronicities we come across. While it may not be clear what is truly meant by “you only live once”— because perhaps that is a personal belief and maybe even a choice—well, we can choose as much life as we want in one day. And in referencing “this day”, I constitute the entire 24 hours— the entire span of 1440 minutes.

It is true that life is not always as long as we anticipate it to be— but this does not mean that life ends. Death is sometimes terrifying to think about though it does offer the truest liberation from all fears, from all distress, from all sinking pain that holds us down from living life to its fullest. Death, I can imagine, is the ultimate celebration of freedom and life— for one is never truly free until one departs from the physical body and is free to inhabit as much space as possible in spirit. There is beauty in this, and there is expansiveness.

We must take the initiative to hold ourselves as babies in the palms of our hands, remembering who we were— who we still are— before death. We can revert to that inner child, possibly incorporating that self throughout our days. Blessing our child self, honoring that child self, and remembering that we’re not so different than we used to be, though years have passed in between. What is inside of you will only shine on to the outside if you allow the flow of your voice that way, into the eternal.

Follow the flow of life with each breath. Don’t stop trusting your essence when clouds of limiting perceptions elude to overtaking you. Look into the mirror and see yourself without the illusions. Without the heavy mask of who others say you’re supposed to be. Look into a body of water and maybe you will find a reflection of Yourself, knowing that you are not so different from Water itself. We are, in essence, 60% water. So, what are the illusory barriers? Why can’t we see ourselves as transparent as water, since that’s what we are? The barriers of outer influences can be knocked down only when we are acting and living from the Core of our hearts.

When living from the core of our hearts, we can shatter all false perceptions of self and breathe fully. We can take off the masks we wear and live comfortably without them.

I was astonished when I found this drawing by Marilyn Zapp in a bathroom of a convenient store in between two forest towns, and upon inquiring further information it had serendipitously arrived two days before I stumbled upon it, goosebump and tear-stricken. Though I had finished this draft in November 2019, I found this on 2/21/20 displaying the uncanny quote: “Do we become the masks we wear?” Not only did this speak to my soul and parallel the essay I had drafted; I had been seeking a drawing just like it to complete the feng shui of my new space since January. I’ll have to continue to visit this drawing in the bathroom since the new owner is not giving it up.

With love,

Camille M. Garcia