Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Joburg, South Africa.

Lazy Tuesday afternoon in a foreign city.  My girlfriend naps and I am taken by how blessed and grateful and downright fucking lucky I am to have fallen in love with such a big hearted woman.  We have been traveling through this gorgeous country for two weeks seeing striking landscape, and sipping on creative endeavors that taste of the earth, wind and soil.  We have met laughing hearts full of spirit and generosity.   We have been awed by camouflaged creatures emerging from the bush at sunrise.   We have been blessed by friends and firelight.  But the most amazing of all is that I get to look into her eyes while I experience all of this.  I get to see her surprise and excitement.  Ease her fear and relish in her joy.  Her heart has made me at home.  I am forever thrilled and excited to be on a journey with her, my love.

Friday, July 29, 2016

A long overdue introduction

My name is Cathlin Star Walker.  I am an holistic health coach.  I help people manifest the best version of themselves.  I do this by listening to stories, learning how we care for ourselves and others.  I really enjoy making food, for my clients and those I love.  Grocery shopping totally jazzes me; I get to organize a menu, and a grocery list!  The produce aisle is my favorite.  I just can't get enough veggies, the darker the color the more of it I want on my plate.  Don't get me wrong the occasional pear almond tart makes it onto my plate too.  I believe in trying things, magic, the power of learning from our mistakes and listening.  And LOVE.  I believe in big love, hard love, the love that keeps the earth alive, love that is hard to see, brings tears to our eyes, and makes us remember that we are all here on this planet at the same fucking time.
So this space is dedicated to figuring out where all of these ideas intersect, how we can live our most authentic lives with respect to ourselves and others.  How we can move forward when paralyzation feels safer.  This space is about our journey, not the destination.  I appreciate your time,  and energy.  I hope you find some inspiration and insight here.  If you have any questions, let me know.  I am delighted to hear from you.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Queen of Self-Doubt

Today something happened to me that has not happened in a long time.  I fell into the pit of self doubt.  We have all been in the pit of self doubt, you know it's that place where you second guess everything about yourself, physically, emotionally and professionally.  I used to live there; not understanding my own worth and behaving as if life could never catch up with me, pretending that I had my shit together.  But I cried myself to sleep, or through the dishes, or binge watched The Wire and Lip Service enough times to really see that I was in my own fucking way.  My journey out of the pit of despair has been long, 5 years or so.  A few relationships and jobs later I live in the middle of the country, with the love of my life.  I have climbed my way out of the pit of self doubt.  I live in constant practice.  Everyday I cultivate routine, self love, and gratitude.  It is hard work to love yourself, and today proved that despite all of my work, all of my mantras, and mindful breath work, and green vegetables, and positive loving support, I am really just on the precipice of that pit of self doubt.
It started with the burn of tears while the bank officer told me I didn't have all the right documents to open the account I needed.  By the time I was walking out of the bank my shoulders were shuddering.  As I buckled my seat belt tears were streaming down my cheeks from behind my sunglasses.  I got myself home, safely.  I called my girlfriend and cried.  After listening to her pep talk I still was sure that I had no qualification to start my own business, to help people, to become an authority on my subject.  The conversation with my girlfriend ended with me still in tears, claiming I can't do this!  When I got off the phone, I filled out the paperwork the bank officer required, submitted my application and continued on my day.  I got a lot of stuff done.  I made myself a healthy, well portioned dinner.  I ran a few errands.  I even did laundry.  So maybe I am not back into the pit of self doubt.  I just dangled my toes over the edge.  
In retrospect it was the perfect storm as so much of life's derailments are but at the time I was a sobbing mess.  Then I used my practice, my breath work, my loving supportive relationship to get me back on solid ground instead of falling to the bottom.  It's the little parts of a life in practice that I give thanks to.  The parts that hold me together and keep me moving forward despite the scary stuff.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

She leaves tomorrow

Tomorrow at 2:30 my love gets on a plane and won't return for two months.
I am sad, confused, and excited.
I will miss her goofy antics, and the warmth of her morning snuggles.
I am looking forward to time alone to be productive and really launch some big work.
I'm excited for her adventure and to meet the woman who will come home to me.

Friday, August 28, 2015


I am practicing peace today.  After reading the news and being angry at the ridiculous realities of american politics, I have decided to approach my day with calm, motivation, and intent.  I will practice being the change I want to see in this world.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Food Heals

As you may know from previous posts I have a few political bones in my body.  As I have gotten older my politics have evolved to a more, "be the change I want to see" brand rather than the "rant against the morons" brand.  Don't worry I still consistently swear out loud when I hear of another advance in the polls for the ever infuriating billionaire with a bad dye job.  But more often than not I give my $$$ to Bernie Sanders, buy local organic vegetables, sign petitions to stop the terrible trade agreement with China that Obama is selling, and give my thumbs up to the restaurant workers picketing their place of employment in downtown Chicago.  I know it isn't much but it is what I have the energy for.  I am at a place where being kind and living a life of joy and inspiration is more important and radical than being angry at the despicable state of our world.  I will always be a feminist, because I am a woman.  I will always be a socialist because I believe in the equitable distribution of wealth to ALL citizens.  I will always advocate for the earth because I grew up in the forests of Vermont.
Many lifetimes ago a dear friend of mine, Jojo, wrote me a letter while she was on vacation in New Mexico.  At the time we were working long thankless hours at a brew pub, pouring beer and pushing burritos.  We wrote poems to each other during our shifts when the cliental was less than gracious.  We dreamt of escaping the monotony and disrespect, doing things for ourselves, being appreciated for our brains not our asses and swagger.   It was letter sharing the immense inspiration and relaxation she was experiencing in the desert, under the moon.  In it she mentioned that I should open a potion shop.  She went into detail about the beauty of this shop.  I have forgotten them, but the sentiment has never left me.  
Over the past two years I have been brainstorming and dreaming of venturing into business on  my own.  Move to my home, turn the soil and plant some seeds.  Throw a pop-up and stun folks with homegrown cocktails.   Mix herbs and salts and give away relaxation in a jar.  All of these ideas and many more have been brewing and steeping to no avail...yet.
Recently I enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.  In one years time I will be a certified Health Coach.  I am thrilled to be learning and researching, to be using the brain I have cultivated for years.  Last weeks curriculum was focused on the health crisis we are facing as a nation.  As I watched various lectures and scribbled notes, I kept coming back to something we all know.  Food is simple.  Food heals.  If food heals then it has power.  Therefore we know that the simplicity of food threatens the money making prospects of capitalism, because we can grow food in our driveways, on our balconies, in abandoned lots, and on our school playgrounds.  To grow food is to become more healthy, more self sufficient, and more empowered.  One thing that will put the proverbial wrench in our political machine is an empowered, self sufficient populace.
And so begins my journey to health coaching.  I am building my own business, I am brewing potions to heal, I am cooking my own food, and scheming ways to fill abandoned lots and schoolyards with gardens.  
Before I delve into my year long course, I would like to give thanks to all the radical women who have taught me about food, potion, plants, and gardening.  My friends and family who have eaten at my table, laughed in our gardens and schemed over tea.  I would not be embarking on this journey without your devotion to what is real and true for us...food heals.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Soul Wrestling in Suburbia

I love to live, to journey and learn, to broaden who I am and what I want to give to the world.
  In March I moved because of love.  When I got to Illinois, I got lost in a suburban landscape where I am older than all the buildings and the trees are only big in the established neighborhoods.  I felt empty, useless.  So I put one foot in front of the other and set out to find "myself".
It was going ok.  I read gardening books but I had no land to implement technique on.  I dreamt of recipes using the bounty of farms I could not find.  I told myself I was writing a book for my nieces, but I was really just making a collage for them.  And then I travelled to my family, my green mountain roots, my friends who feed me, and have bathed with me in the waters of home.
  It was full on lilac season in New England.  I was there for two weeks.  Two weeks of being Auntie Cat.   Two weeks of walking with my feet bare on the dirt road I grew up on.  Two weeks of my mother and crosswords.  Two weeks of being next door to my childhood best friend.  Two weeks of my love, 887 miles away in the burbs with my two cats and my absence rattling in our apartment.  
I drove back to my life, exhausted, with my father in the car.   We drove through thunderstorms and Cleveland.  I slept in the parking lots of abandoned restaurants and ate salads from the shelves of rest area convenience stores.
I unpacked plant clippings and artwork from my travels around the globe.  My lover watched as more of my life spilled into hers.  We kissed quietly in our bedroom as my father sat reading in the living room.  We cooked food together and rejoiced when he got on the train. We went on a date, 1500 feet in the air.  The wine was delicious.
Then life settled back in.  The plant clippings got potted, the artwork went up on the wall, and once again I was lost in a suburban landscape where I am older than all the buildings.  But a small little miracle was embedded in my heart, in my soul.  While in Vermont, over local feta and a bottle of wine in the whisper of past the kids bed time, one of my dearest friends gave me the name; Rebecca Solnit.  As I read Solnits' essay today I realized so much of who I am.  A breakthrough of sorts.  It has been incubating and rooting and now I feel as though it is poking through the soil of my mind, like the first green curl of spring through the dirt of March snow.  I know what it is I am here for.  I know why Illinois has me caught in a concrete jungle.  As she references one of my favorite minds, Michel Foucoult, I know what it is that I must do, and I know why I must do it.  I do not know what my do will do... But our future needs us.
And so the journey of me continues with serendipity, grace and frustration, sunsets through tears and the knowledge that if I do not know, those that I love do.  They will share their do and they will not know what it does.