2023’s Hard-Earned Wisdom: Closing the Chapter on a 9-Year Cycle

2023 was an amazingly complicated year. High highs and major lessons learned. The end of a 9 year cycle for Cat. Chickens, roller blading, kayaking, and travel made up a lot of our year. And dance!

In numerology there is a concept of a 9 year cycle. Year one is the beginning of the cycle, and year nine is the closing point. My personal year for 2023 is that of the 9 energy – A year of closure, finality, finishing projects. The year of the 9 energy began on my birthday in March 2023 and ends in my birthday in March 2024. What I love about the timing of my birthday is that it also coincides with the lunar new year (new moon in Aries) which allows me to set really clear intentions at the same time that my personal year number is shifting. I start setting those intentions now over the Agrarian New Year so that by March I am laser focused. Now that I’m simultaneously paying attention to my personal year in numerology, I can see how important the intentions I set now are going to be over the next decade, because I am setting the course on my next 9 year cycle which begins in March.

Personal Year 9:
Personal Year 9 represents fulfilling and closing cycles and readiness to advance in the coming year to a higher level with the Personal Year 1…. All activities and responsibilities of this year increase awareness and enable personal and spiritual development. Personal Year 9 is one of the most difficult years (together with Personal Years Four and Seven), but among all the difficulties that people seem to attract during this time it gives them the opportunity to learn something new and develop their personality. It is crucial to know what to look for, but when you go through your life, year after year, and compare your personal years with your successes, challenges, joys and lessons that each of these years brought to you, you will understand life a bit more than before.

Source: https://numerology.astro-seek.com/personal-year?

Rain Clouds and Disaster Zones

I knew coming into this personal year 9 energy that it might be hard, but wow I had no idea what I was actually in for! As I reflect back on this past year I sometimes cannot believe what we have overcome. And yet I feel so entirely grateful for the lessons that have come package deal with all of the obstacles that we have faced. The trouble this year really began over the summer when a foam mattress we owned exploded fiberglass particles all over our bedroom, ruining most of my wardrobe, our king sized mattress (it was our toddler’s bed that caused the issue, and it was at the foot of our bed), and contaminated our carpet, air, and every surface including walls and curtains in our bedroom. It was a literal disaster zone.

So we emergency style dry-walled a screened in porch to turn it into a bedroom, and that is where I was staying with the baby when a piece of artwork fell onto my face cutting my forehead, just an inch from my eye, WHILE I SLEPT. I believe it was the new cat being obnoxious but I still don’t know for sure how it happened. OK, that was intense. Then our male goat got an injury to his eyelid when he tried to jump onto a rabbit cage that had sharp pieces of metal on the edge. Then I walked into a yaupon branch, it slid under my eyelid and 48 hours later my eye swelled up HUGE (turns out I had a piece of wood stuck under my eyelid for over a week).

Next I traveled to Kansas City where I helped my dad move out of my childhood home (that was exhausting and very emotional). I then came home to Texas and moved all the furniture we just inherited from a u-haul to our front porch where we would store it while we traveled to Italy to see my husband’s family. Trip to Italy was great, except for two things. 1. Our house sitter forgot to water our garden and almost all my plants burned up in the 107 degree heat (My 6 year old lemon tree did survive, and two little weird ornamental squash plants). 2. Our livestock guardian dogs developed severe litter-mate syndrome and we came home to two adult-human-sized dogs getting into terrifying fights if they were anywhere near each other. One fight in our living room was so bad two adults hitting them with chairs didn’t stop it! I had to tackle a 90 lb Pyredoodle mid-fight in front of about 8 people, almost entirely children. This began a 6 week separation that included two neuters, two cones, separate walks, separate feedings, and having to stay in entirely different buildings and yards…. Talk about EXHAUSTING. And on top of all of this, our female goat became so sick with drug resistant parasites that she had to have a blood transfusion and almost died from anemia.

This sounds like a lot, but I am just getting started! In August my ex enrolled the children in public school, dramatically changing our carefully cultivated home-school dream life, and his wife threatened CPS on our family, in writing to my husband. They apparently came by our home while we were in Italy (unexpected, unannounced, and the only time LITERALLY they have approached our home), and saw all the furniture from Kansas City under tarps on the porch, a pile of fiber glass contaminated trash waiting for the dumpster to be delivered, and debris from contractors working on the place (also piled up for the dumpster), half completed construction projects (siding was off the front of our home entirely), etc…. We were GONE, we were paying people to handle these things while we were out of town. All of it was in progress, temporary, and extremely circumstantial.

They apparently decided instead of offering to see if we needed any help, that it was appropriate to demand that we hand over full custody of the big kids because they could apparently provide a better life for the children than us, based on this one moment in time that they witnessed our home in a state of great transition post-environmental disaster. The lawyer I contacted with a copy of her message said it could be seen as EXTORTION (which I had to go look up to be sure I was understanding). And if you are wondering, no they did not once ask if the kids were OK or check on us after I informed them what had happened with the fiberglass, they ONLY threatened the state weeks later when they witnessed the clean up effort. This of course brought stress upon my husband who received the message directly from Rebecca Anzini Powers Bush threatening to have CPS take away our baby. Gross. Thankfully the pictures we submitted to my ex’s lawyer of the inside of our home (how invasive!) got both of them to shut up about our living conditions. As my lawyer says about our cabin “its cute”. And it is!

shelter for the spirit
Book Review of Shelter for the Spirit

I wrote some about our journey creating a Shelter for our Spirit in my book review here. I even show pics of the inside of our home, the exact ones submitted to the courts. Yes we need a paint job, but come on! Why would CPS want to take our children over our home? They would not. I knew this for certain because the last time my ex tried to use the courts to remove the children based on my housing (he failed miserably), I did the research to ensure I knew what actually matters to CPS, and our home is now, and was then, 100% suitable for our family. He simply wanted to “win” at all costs in court and was willing to stoop that low, twice. And why would the step mother of my older children want to wish that experience upon the kids? The only explanation I have is – her hatred of me is greater than her love of the children. This is called high-conflict, and it shows who the high-conflict party is in our situation very blatantly.

Then Acapulco, the host city for the conference I produce, Anarchapulco, was devastated by the worst hurricane (Otis) in the history of Mexico, and we literally had to dispatch rescue and recovery operations from all over the globe. My boss Jeff Berwick was able to raise over $400,000!!! We got people and resources on the ground before even the local government or Red Cross. The recovery operations took a month of my full time focus and dedication, resulting in me making myself sick for over a week (my fault I just couldn’t stop, lives were literally at stake). As things started to normalize I had to then renegotiate every contract we have for the event, which is a lot, and make sure we could even make the event possible! It has been a LOT of work. A LOT a lot a lot.

In that time period my oldest daughter began to have ingrown toenail surgery after ingrown toenail surgery (4 total), my Sun who had a chronic cough during this entire story of 2023 was diagnosed with allergies to basically everything that grows wild in our region. And I developed a CRAZY toe fungus from a pedicure that resulted in losing nearly my entire big left toenail. It took months to resolve, but I did so without pharmaceuticals. I wish I had caught it sooner, but it was under gel polish that doesn’t exactly chip off, so it was growing out with fungus killing the nail underneath. To add a layer of stress on top, I kept showing my ex the allergy reports that coincided with our Sun’s cough, and he tried to blame my HOUSE, making up claims about mold, even testifying under oath in a deposition about my home which he had never once entered. Finally we got our Sun tested for allergies and sure enough, the reason his cough was worse when ragweed, grass and tree pollen were high is because he is allergic to all of the above. Can you imagine, here is a suffering child who needs support, and all dad can think to do is blame mom and delay getting the support needed. That’s EXACTLY what happened with our Sun’s, dyslexia diagnosis, too.

I swear at this point you could make a movie script about this one calendar year. And, there’s more!

OK, finally, time for some rest and respite – In November our family took a trip to Puerto Vallarta for the Mariposa Freedom Festival where my younger daughter and I had the awful experience of “margarita” burn, severe second degree burns caused by touching a slice of lime, getting the juice on our skin, and then going into sunlight. When I say severe I mean SEVERE, you cannot believe the size of the blisters on my poor Moon Baby’s fingers and arm. We also saw a yacht sink in the bay, which was terrifying and adrenaline dumping, and that came hours after the most intense boat ride of my life through a wind storm in that very Bay (there were moments I literally questioned if we would capsize, we were drenched in saltwater, miserable, and holding onto each-other for dear life!).

And finally, when we came home to Texas my husband’s job basically told him that he has 3 months to move to California or be terminated (he is currently work from home). Then we found out his mother’s health is declining rapidly, as is his uncles. Now he will be making an urgent and unplanned trip to Italy to see them over the New Year.

What a mess! AND YET, when I sat down to review my 2023, the list of blessings is actually longer than the list of obstacles.

Sunshine and Rainbows (In Between the Storms)

To start with the blessings – this year’s Anarchapulco Resist was absolutely AMAZING. Every speaker, staff and attendee I spoke to said it was the best year yet. I have the opinion that I really peaked professionally on the production side (room for growth on the budgeting and boundaries side), and I hope I can provide as epic of an experience this upcoming February 2024, despite the barriers we will be facing with the hurricane.

While I was in Mexico for the event, I had work done on my back tattoo – an unfinished full back tree tattoo that had no leaves since 2006. That means I’ve had a dead tree on my back since the first year of the PREVIOUS 9 year cycle, a tattoo I got in 2006 and never finished. Last spring a wonderful artist named Emma brought my tree to life! I’m no longer embarrassed by it!

Now, as I enter February 2024, Emma ( the artist ) is going to finish (add color) to what I started two cycles ago. That feels hugely symbolic because 2006 is also the year that I learned about Ron Paul and began my journey into libertarian philosophy and activism. Can you believe all of that happened in a personal year 1? I also got an amazing hamsa hand tattooed onto my arm (international cross-spiritual symbol for protection) this year, and its a matching friends tattoo with my Bestie, Lily Miranda.

Another amazing thing this year is that my Sun was diagnosed with, and began intervention for dyslexia. This has been a HUGE godsend for my boy, who went from a non-reader in March of 2023 to a 4th grade reading level in Dec 2023. HUGE progress. Time for HUGE celebrations! I also attended reading intervention training this year to become a dyslexia interventionist, and I am so excited to help children like myself, my husband, and my Sun figure out how to process the written language.

Other blessings this year – we got goats, we expanded our chicken flock, I had flowers bloom all spring and summer that I planted in the fall of 2022. That was amazing and beautiful and really delighted me every day for months on end. My food garden did well this year until the travel / water debacle. I made a lot of soups with local veggies and our own or local meat. I finally have some birds laying green eggs! We got a solar air-conditioner and solar panels. We remodeled 3 bedrooms and rebuilt a big front porch. Our homestead began to make huge strides forward. I fell even more in love with my community.

There were many activity-based blessing we were able to participate in as well…. We got kayaks for mine and my Sun’s birthdays and I was able to go kayaking 3 times in 2023. I rode a horse twice. I took my kids roller skating like 10 times (with the Greenbriar Skate Club that my kids co-founded while still homeschooling). My oldest daughter absolutely dominated her spring dance competition season, and then in the fall she tried out for, and got a solo (her first!). My moon baby and I started mommy and me dance. We (myself + 2-3 kids) attended the ballet three times (Cinderella, Hamlet, and the Nutcracker). My Sun spent hours in the woods working on forts, or out front chopping wood.

My husband began to explore alternative career options. He refurbished computers and got a CNC machine and started making gifts that we gave away for Christmas this year. I can see how having the squeeze of a potential lay off is actually resulting in inspiration and creativity! (He is in a personal year 1 – so the energy of this year is one of new beginnings for him!)

I had a fun two-day birthday celebration in Galveston with friends for my Sun and I (our birthdays are a day apart), and we had a fun camping celebration for my Stara in the fall. My dad came! We had an amazing European trip to Italy where we celebrated Josie with a ton of friends and family, then we spent an amazing 36 hours in Switzerland, and briefly France (we literally crossed the border on foot and stayed for less than an hour at the country divide taking in the view). We had an amazing experience in Puerto Vallarta in between the chaos I described earlier, including spending a day with my cousin and her brood at the beach, visiting a waterfall, extending our 3 year residential visa, and giving one of the best talks of my speaking career.

The Judge didn’t even come close to entertaining my ex’s frivolous attempts to take custody from us, and affirmed my Constitutionally protected free speech. The best part about that whole legal situation with my ex is that the power dynamic has completely shifted. I’m no longer afraid of him! He doesn’t scare me anymore. All of his threats to take the kids, or put me in a jail are nothing more than bully moves. I didn’t need to be afraid all along. As hard as he has tried to remove me as the Mother of my kids since 2019, he cannot. He will not. I am here to stay, forever and always. He always asserted I was a great mother until I asked for a legal divorce. He seems to have made it his mission ever since to disrupt the mother-child bond as much as possible (to punish me?). I also suspect that his wife may be done tolerating his obsessive behavior with me, which I hope is the case because I’d really rather he pay attention to her than me. This feels like CLOSURE. This feels like a cycle ending.

Another silver lining to what feels like a tragic situation (kids enrolled in public school against my consent) is that my Sun is getting dyslexia intervention. Not only is he getting support from a trained reading interventionist, but his ELA teacher was trained at the same school I’m attending. He’s getting the support he needs, even if its coming in a weird way that I would have never chose for him (public school).

Our Moon Child got her own bedroom out of the fiberglass fiasco, and our bedroom was cleared out of literally everything, just in time for the beautiful heirloom furniture I inherited from my parents to arrive. The timing could not have been more perfect. Amazingly, I have wanted these pieces of furniture literally my entire life. Talk about ending a cycle… Also, my dad selling the house means he’s safely and happily in his new home with his new wife and that makes me feel so SO grateful.

I finished reading some amazing books this year – Victoria Moran’s Shelter for the Spirit, Asia Suler’s Mirrors in the Earth (I’m almost done, I hope to be finished before NYE), Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score, Brittany Spear’s The Woman in Me, Paulo Coelho’s The Pilgrimage, and the Joan Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking. I also re-read Allison Armstrong’s Keys to the Kingdom and Jo Dispenza’s Becoming Super Natural. Not to mention all the books I started and did NOT finish on audible. I also enjoyed a new genre of podcasts – Diving most deeply into The Emerald, Deja Blu podcast, and the Cosmic Matrix. In fact, I started a podcast play list of some of my favorite episodes. If you have Spotify, click here to check it out.

I feel really proud of what we have accomplished this year. We’ve made huge strides on the homestead, our hOMe, spiritual growth, intellectual / academic growth, and the most important aspect of 2023 is that my family and I grew more connected. Every morning I have been writing down my intentions for my future vision of life – and one of those is a strong CONNECTED family – and I can say that 2023 definitely brought us that.

Looking Forward, 2024 and the Personal Year 1

What does all of this mean? Well, first and foremost I am the matriarch of my own family now. My home is my HOME, I do not have my childhood house to “run home to” anymore, or a mother’s arms to cry into (yes I acknowledge my dad and stepmom would take me in if needed LOL but its just not the same). That means to me that I am the Queen of my Kingdom now, and I need to behave accordingly. This space must be protected, this space must be cherished, this space must become the most sacred space in my life. That means deflecting threats like wicked step moms who cast spells of evil upon our family through their threatening words, that means protecting this community from financial and legal discord, that means protecting my energy by getting enough rest, that means protecting the energy of this space by keeping in a way that is conducive to all of our goals.

as 2023 comes to a close, one of the greatest lessons I can extrapolate is that of BALANCE and PERSPECTIVE. This year showed me that no matter how hard things get, there are always blessings interwoven. This year showed me that I cannot do it all, and has forced me to rest several times. I want to enter 2024 prepared to create balance from the start, no more injuries and illness FORCING rest. It’s time to cut out some responsibilities I am just not sure which ones I want to give up yet. TBD….

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