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Reread this every 5 years.

Hawk Totem
Addicted to Helping: Why We Need to Stop Trying to Fix People
By Annika Martins


“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals.” ~Pema Chodron

After college, I was hustling hard to get a work visa so that I could stay in the US.

But then my mom got caught up in a political scandal, and without much reflection on how much this would alter my life’s plans, I dropped my dream of staying in America, drove 1,000 miles, and flew another 500 to be by her side.

Would she have crumbled without me there? My mama is a tough chick, so I highly doubt it.

But at the time, I (subconsciously) believed that when the ones we love are hurting, their pain trumps everything. Their pain gets top priority, and whatever goals and dreams we’ve been working toward now pale in comparison.

At the time, I thought that love meant tending to the other person’s needs first—always.

And this form of self-sacrifice came naturally to me (I’d behaved this way even as a young child), so I was lucky, right? Having inherent caregiver qualities is a beautiful gift, right?

Yes. And maybe not.
Are You a Natural Caregiver?

You’ll know if you have this trait too, because people will often tell you their secrets mere minutes after meeting you.

When someone has just been in a car accident or broken up with their boyfriend, you wrap your arms around them and for the first time that day, their body fully relaxes.

People tell you they feel at home in your presence. Safe. Heard. Cared for.

There’s so much beauty in having a trait like this. Without much effort, you nurture and care for those around you. It is a gift you give us all.

But there’s another side to the caregiver coin.

Helping other people can become addictive. It can begin to feel like the only way to show your love is to prostrate yourself at the needs of others.

Oh, you’re hurting? Lemme swoop in and save the day.

Oh, you’re broke? Lemme dump my savings into your bank account and all will be well.

Oh, you’re single again? Lemme set you up with my neighbor’s son.

Whatever your ailment, I’ve got a fix for you!

And the gratitude from the people we’re supposedly ‘fixing’ tends to flow so steadily that we become convinced of the healthiness of our stance.

We’re confident that healing every sore spot we see is not only natural and enjoyable, but it’s the main reason we were put on this planet.

When you carry the Nurturer Gene, fixing other people can easily become a destructive self-identity.

You will martyr yourself over and over again in order to meet the invisible quota of Lives Helped that floats above your head.

You will obsessively analyze how every choice you make might impact those around you.

You will assess every meal, every dollar spent, every vacation taken (or not taken) based on how it will impact the people you feel a responsibility to care for.

Because, in this unhealthy version of caregiving, our understanding of love has become warped. Love now looks like a relentless string of sacrifice.

Your thoughts might go something like this:

If I don’t love her with my constant presence, she will feel sad and lonely.

If I don’t love him with my attentive eye observing everything, he’ll get sick again, or maybe even die.

If I don’t love them with my efficiencies managing everything, someone will get hurt. Things will go very wrong if I’m not here to take care of them all.

Sometimes, love calls on us to invest our energy and time in tending to someone else’s pain.

But not 100 percent of the time. And not with the nurturing going down a one-way street, pouring out of the same person, over and over again.

If you see this pattern in any of your relationships, consider what it would take to expand your definition of what it means to nurture, to love, to care for.

A healthy caregiver not only nourishes the needs of others, but also nourishes her own.

Holistic nourishment. Nourishment of the whole of us, for all of us—which includes you.

Self-nourishment might look like hiring a babysitter so you can have a romantic getaway with your hubby.

Self-care might mean taking the job on the other side of the country, even though it means you’ll only see your parents twice a year.

Self-love might be quietly soaking in a bubble bath instead of probing everyone for a detailed account of their day.

You are not responsible for the world’s pain.

Share your talents and resources. Generously give your time and attention. But you cannot pour a magical tonic on the wounds of every person walking the planet. It’s not your job. And if it were, it’d be a sucky job because you’d fail at it every single day.

Especially when we identify as being “spiritual,” we can lift up words like “compassion,” “generosity,” and “kindness” to such a degree that we forget that even “compassion” sometimes must say no.

Even “generosity” has to allocate some of her resources for herself.

And even “kindness” must muster the nerve to walk away sometimes.

If you are the person in your relationship or family or company that defaults to caregiver and wound-tender, give thanks for the ease with which you dish out your love.

But be careful about inhaling that caregiver role to such a degree that your identity becomes dependent on having someone nearby to nurture.

Give your love. Freely and deeply.

And trust that even if you’re not there to ‘fix’ them, everyone will be just fine.

Photo by Valerie Everett

OK I admit it I hate 2 men...

Hawk Totem
Out of 51 years of life and having met at least 5000 men, there are 2 that I do in fact hate. Does this make me a card carrying misandryist? But does this negate all the negative actions of misogynists?


Hawk Totem
If you've heard anything about the Santa Barbara slayings know that it comes from a culture of male superiority. This is a gender crime, it isn't about mental illnesses not being treated, it isn't about gun control. This is about the assumption that males deserve to get pussy.

Not all men dehumanize women. Yet the majority of women have been dehumanized by a man. The killings were a gender issue. How dare women not surrender themselves and their goodies to men? That is the topic that this criminal has raised for myself.

Last week a boy decided he was so special that being turned down to prom meant he could cut the throat of the girl that dared to deny him.

How many families keep having children until the magical male progeny appears?

The fucking NYT fires the female editor because she was pushy.

Workout for a quick sweat!

Hawk Totem


17 years ago...

Hawk Totem
I miss my grandmother all the time. So much time has passed since her death and still I morn all the things I wanted to share with her. She died in my arms, I still recall her leaving her body on the intake of her breath not the exhale. Can't explain it really, just I lay there curled around her and she left.

Being human is perspective in time. In Native American cultures you are always part of 7 generations. You know your grandparents, your parents, your generation, your children, and finally your grandchildren.

This week I passed to my cousin Cheryl all the family photos I had that go back to our great, great grand parents. She has children and grandchildren that will appreciate the family history. She only knew Grandma from 3 times meeting her as an adult. She missed out so much of what a lovely, educated, sweet and innocent woman our grandmother was. Next month Grandma would have been 107 years old. She never berated anyone, she chose to be kind, her life wasn't easy but she bore it with grace.

Dear Grandma,
I have been going through all your old papers, I had always felt so guilty about no writing to you more. Yet now that I see all the letters of mine that you saved I feel so beloved. I could share anything with you and never be judged as anything poorly, just as someone human. You told me I was a kind child, I sure hope that I still am that. I know that I take after your example of writing off people who hurt us. Typically though I have allowed such people to run over me with a semi truck because I want to give them the chance to become whomever I believe them to be capable.
I have my own red kitty now, Sven, he is a little devil and I love him dearly. I have planted many tomatoes again this year. This is just so that I can take all the fruit and gather it up to be canned. I can use your canner and know that we are locked in time cooking together, saving the summer into time capsules to be opened in the future. I have now made that huge step into pressure canning, got past that fear.
I hope I have been a good girl like you always told me to be in your letters and that you are proud of me. Bill still takes care of my emotions and pulls my chain as well. I hope to have as many years as you and Grandpa shared.
Please look out for me and help me find my way so that I can appreciate all the beauty life offers day to day.
Love you always and forever


Feb. 5th, 2014

Hawk Totem
SO got kicked again by the cow. She has both Mastitis and Pneumonia... Poor girly. The milk has to be tossed because she is on antibiotics. People are not fully milking her OUT and this causes plenty of issues.

Brigid came over for me to hem up her athletic pants for running in agility. They look great. She was fascinated to watch the Roomba do her routine and amazed that the critters ignore her.

Today I have to run to Costco to pick up stuff for Bill and boxes to break down for making more raised bed gardens. The DAMN chickens attacked my tomato plants I had put in.

I need to make up lemon curd today as well as sew a peasant costume for the niece.

Robin from Ohio IM'd me first thing this am. I immediately asked her if she wanted to come out. I really hope she does. It looks like a HELLISH winter out there. Looked into flights for 2 weeks from now for her to spend a week and they seemed reasonable to me. Hope that they do to her as well.
Hawk Totem
Dear 12 Year Old Me,
First I'm so glad that science has accomplished the ability to meddle in our own pasts.
Second right now you don't have enough life experience to get comfort from knowing things are going to get so much better, you just have my/our word on this. There are issues with young teens being cruel in order to fit into their social ranks, once again they don't have prior experience to comprehend the damage that they wrought. (I won't tell you that there are some of those who truly are such sick assholes that they thrive on this throughout life)
You shall get so many experiences by not committing suicide, obviously just by the fact that you choose your life and that is the bonus round. As herd animals we are and we have evolved a need to be part of the herd that pains us emotionally and we get physical responses to this as well. You aren't crazy, worthless, or sans value, those are panic fears of being cut out of the herd. Get this there are LOTS of herds where you FIT IN. There isn't just one herd. Right now you want to fit in but know just like you are outgrowing the length of your pants that putting on and accepting the wrong herd you will grow and shed these people.
Third, at age 51 you will not be having a birthday party, you will be sharing it with your husband having a day adventure. You will be IMPORTANT to him. He takes your birthday off of work just to be with you! That's right not just a boyfriend but a spouse of DECADES is in your future. Squeal NOW, yes he really is cute and a hunk and brilliant! SERIOUSLY! He gets you, he understands and nurtures you, he allows you your freedom and is always the safe place to return. You are also going to get over 80 personal messages wishing you a happy birthday from people you really like and love! They want to be part of your happiness! You have many best friends, you are a good friend to many too! Yeah I know "finally" you aren't overlooked. Oh and sports never matter much directly in your life.
Oh and you are someday going to be able to cry! You stopped crying for physical issues, those will be solved by a surgery that opens up your sinuses, and you won't be in pain and getting crazy sick with pneumonia won't happen just because your body needs to let out the pressure. Crying is going to be ok. You don't have to be tough and deny yourself. (I didn't cry for about 15 years because it would lead to first a sinus infection, followed by a chest cold, next development would be pneumonia)
Now for some crazy great news, you will have MANY adventures. You will touch cheetahs, lions, tigers, bears, dolphins, manatee, skunk, raccoon, geez so many creatures that I can't even share them all. You will have many horses in your life!!!! You will have many friends, really solid beautiful talented sharing friends! You will be known for your many acquired talents and interests as well. Your life is so going to ROCK! I won't tell you when or where, ok you won't ever have to shovel snow again, but you will be happy. I won't give you any advice just hope and knowledge this will all become TRUE for YOU!
Happy Birthday to me.

Tomato Seed Order for 2014

Hawk Totem
The start of my holy days, ordering of the Tomato Seeds! My one true religion, Tomato Growing.

Tomatoes ordered from

Tsungshigo Chinese Tomato
Unbelievable production of small, reddish-chocolate colored, grape-shaped tomatoes. These have the sweet, earthy flavor of the classic ‘black’ types, but packed into a small package. Seed originally from a Chinese commercial vendor.

Vorlon Tomato A stunning purple-black tomato that was the best-tasting tomato we grew last season and is sure to become a new favorite. Rich dark flesh is full of the rich, smoky, organic taste that makes dark varieties among our favorite.

Rouge D' Irak 75 days Medium-sized fruit are finely flavored; good yields, too

Large Barred Boar Tomato - 65-70 days. Indeterminate. This regular leaf tomato grows fairly stocky and not as tall as most indeterminate varieties. Flattened beefsteak fruit are pink-brown with metallic green stripes and weigh 8-12 ounces. Very meaty pink flesh is very flavorful.

German Pink Tomato 85-90 days. One of the tomatoes that originally ignited the heirloom movement in America, this variety originated in Bavaria.The luxuriant potato-leaf plants give high yields of 1- to 2-lb, nearly seedless meaty fruit. “a full sweet flavor, even floral, and...tender skinned.” These gorgeous pink fruits are extremely versatile, excellent for canning and freezing but also for slicing and juicing.

German Johnson Tomato 80-90 days. Very large 1-2 lb fruits are deep pink, very flavorful and nearly crack-free. The plants are very productive; the superb quality fruits are great for farmers' markets or home gardens. Delicious.

Umberto Pear Tomato-80 days. (also known as King Humbert) Very old Italian heirloom, listed by the renowned French seedhouse Vilmorin-Andrieux in 1885. Named after King Umberto I, King of Italy in the late 19th century. The plants produce unbelievable harvests of small, pear-shaped fruits. These meaty morsels have a nice balance of sweet and tart, with full Old World tomato flavor. Great for paste, sauce or for drying under the late summer sun!

Chocolate Cherry -75 days. Deep rosy-purple little cherries are very uniform at 1-inch in diameter, sweet and juicy, but with rich “old-fashioned” tomato flavor. Crack resistant fruits are produced non-stop on trusses of 6-8 fruits; plants are vigorous and will get as large as 5 feet in height, so staking is a must.

Tomatoes ordered from
Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red - Tomato Seeds
St. Teresa Tomato
Nicholas Doochov Tomato
Bloody Butcher-Tomato Seeds
San Marzano Redorta

Ordered from Ebay
Crnkovic Yugoslavian " Heirloom Tomato Seeds" Yugoslavia Very Large Heirloom Tomatoes were brought to the United States by Yasha Crnkovic. Just beautiful “Pink Easter Egg” like color. Plant produces heavy yields of 1 lb pink beefsteak tomatoes. Tomatoes are sweet and are delicious. Tomatoes almost never crack. Excellent for salads and sandwiches. Indeterminate, 85 days.

Sweet Corn, Hickory King Yellow non-GMO Heirloom 50 vegetable seeds
GIANT German Oxheart Tomato non-GMO Heirloom 10 vegetable seeds Oxheart tomatoes are large, old-fashioned, very fragrant heirlooms.These are indeterminate tomatoes, which means they will grow and produce fruit until killed by frost. The plants can get as tall as 10 feet, though most reach only 6 feet. An old-fashioned favorite with heart-shaped pink fruits that average 1 1/2 lbs. and produce fruits up to an amazing 3 lbs. Firm, meaty, solid flesh

Heirloom Sunray Tomato 50+ Seeds These tomatoes weigh up to ten ounces, and ripen to a
beautiful golden orange. High yields on indeterminate vines.
Rich flavor and meaty texture make these perfect for fresh eating or sauces.
An excellent choice for home gardens and market growers. 72 days. Indeterminate

Heirloom Purple Russian Tomato 30+ Seeds for 2013 Delicious purplish, egg-shaped fruit are smooth and perfect. They have no
blemishes and have flavor that tops the charts. One of the best varieties
we carry for salsa, fresh eating, and preserving. This variety will make market gardeners
and chefs happy, as this Ukrainian heirloom is at the top of its class and a favorite of our grower.
The plants are very productive; fruit weigh about 6 ounces. Introduced to the USA in 1980. 75 days

Heirloom Pink Oxheart Tomato 100+ Seeds for 2013 The large spreading vines of Oxheart tomatoes bear good amounts of 10 to 16 ounce fruit! Fruit is heart shaped and bright pink in color. Flesh is solid, with few seeds, making
it superb for sauces and salsa's as well as slicing. Indeterminate, 90 days

Heirloom Siberian Tomato 30+ Seeds for 2013 *A short season tomato Russian favorite. Siberian is
perfect plant to start the season with. This great little tomato has no problem
ripening under cooler conditions, even as low as 38 degrees. Fruits are bright red,
juicy, born in clusters of 4-6 ounces and quite tasty considering the
earliness of this tomato. Determinate 50 - 60 days.

30 Giant Ukrainian Heart tomato seeds HEIRLOOM.HEIRLOOM. 80 days. This heirloom from Ukraine produces high yields of 1-1.5 lb pink heart shaped tomatoes
They have great flavor

Seeds Tomato De Barao Rozovyi - De Barao Pink Organic Russian Heirloom Seed Mid-season sort, plant up to 2 m. The fruit is oval, plum shape, pink, fleshy, weighing 60 - 90 g. The variety has a good resistant to diseases. Fruits are very tasty - fresh and canned.

Seeds Red Tomato Ranniy - Early Original Organic Russian Heirloom Seed 2013 Early variety. Plant height 35 - 60 cm (1 – 2 ft) with flat-rounded, orange-red, smooth and shiny fruits. Variety is characterized by stable yield, transportability and resistance to late blight. Recommended for growing in open field. Use fresh, for cooking, juice and tomato paste.

Seeds Red Tomato Iskorka - Sparkle Original Organic Russian Heirloom SeedEarly variety. Plant height 40 - 55 cm (1.3 – 1.8 ft). Fruit oval, red, weight 90 - 110 g (3-4 oz). Variety resistant to late blight, Recommended for growing in open field. Excellent for canning.

Rare Seeds Cucumber Dzherelo - Origin Sweet Tasty Heirloom Russian Seeds Early sort with excellent taste and mild flavor. Cylindrical, 10-12 cm (4-5in) long, weight 60-70g (2 – 3 oz). The variety is valued for its resistance to powdery mildew and cucumber mosaic virus, well withstand low temperatures. Bush produce over 2 months. Use fresh, for canning and in salad.

Seeds Red Beefsteak Tomato Shapka Monomakha-Cap of Monomak Heirloom Seed Medium early variety for cultivation in open field and in film shelters. Growing period from germination 110-115 days. Bush powerful, 100-150 cm tall. Fruits are flat-round, red color, weight 200-800 g. Recommended for fresh consumption, juices and tomato paste.

Rare Yellow Beefsteak Tomato Mikado Zheltyy Seeds Organic Russian Heirloom Seeder Mid-season variety (130-140 days). Bush growth up to 150-250cm. The fruits are large, fleshy, thick, yellow, weight 300-600g, excellent flavor.

{Heirloom Non GMO} Chocolate Cherry Tomato 25 seeds Extremely flavorful, uniform, round fruits in trusses of 8, measure 1" in diameter. Fruits hold stems very well, don't crack and can be picked several days before completely mature and allowed to ripen off the vine without sacrificing quality.

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