the thing about slowing down

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It seems to me that we spend most of our time looking back at the what ifs or gazing forward in anticipation of the one day I wills. I have certainly caught myself up in these more than I care to admit.. and sometimes the what ifs can really be most brutal. With so much fear and uncertainty in our world at the moment, it seems very easy to do. Here’s the thing though, life fundamentally is full of uncertain and that moment is what is most important.. it is where you make those choices to focus on what best moves you forward.

Another thing I have noticed, disheartening as it is, is that when I do stop to take a breath of observation.. I feel like I still see far too much indifference. Change is definitely needed.. and Mother Nature as we all have come to respect in her great beauty and rhythms, is an excellent balancer. I hold strong in this.

I believe on some level we are all aware of these cycles, even when we choose to look away. I live in hope that after everything, this shifting towards better will continue to gain movement. As individuals, we can make seemingly small choices that together, can add up to so much more. Every little bit counts, we are all connected in this web.

The thing about slowing down, for me personally, is that it has been an amazing exercise in awareness of my immediate. I am using this time to further streamline my everyday. I am moving my daily into cleaner, healthier, more sustainable in any small way I can. I am learning to grow some of my own food and that which cannot be squeezed into my teeny garden, I am trying to make better choices on.

In looking around I realized that I am still living in more excess than what I feel aligns with my authentic self.. not just in physical stuff but also in squandered time and the people I let into my life. I am finding that more fine tuning is needed.. if I want to call in positive movement, it is important to me to reflect that I am doing the work necessary towards what I am trying to build. Isn’t it funny how these deep realizations sneak up on you by just setting the smaller things in order?

 

flower moon

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Last night was the last full super moon of 2020.. and the flower moon. I always think of the flower moon as the unfurling of possibilities. Being that it was a full moon in Scorpio, I read, it was also a good for releasing and time spent in healing. Apparently said Scorpio is good for introspection and growth.

Since I have been fine tuning and timing my manifestation work to the moon’s cycles, I spent some time in the quiet late last night mulling over the (almost) completion of my last  work, which has been very productive – calling in supportive, healthy relationships.

The universe continues to throw me some challenges on this but so far I have been really strong at keeping myself in alignment with what I want to cultivate in this area of my life and weeding out relationships that no longer serve.. be they codependent, drama laden, or simply no longer a fit. None of this was easy but it was necessary to clear the path for positive movement.. so this moon I worked to release any negative emotions I still had lingering around that.

To me manifesting is more than just clarifying and the energetically positive around what you seek, but also about clearing space to make room for those things. Listing baby steps that can be accomplished in the now or close to, things to clear away that do not align, and really anything small that fits with what you’re trying to call in is a good practice. Then putting together a plan to consistently work on these steps.. and of course doing the work.

And, since new growth was on the mind, I took a baby step towards what I plan to work on next – the energy (and hang-ups, and missteps.. don’t get me started) surrounding money in my life.. and opening up a more positive relationship in that area.

sacred sun

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A few new moons ago had me pulling “worth” from the moon deck – teaching your inner negative Nancy to be more supportive, and freeing yourself from critical thoughts towards body and worth. I honestly felt that I didn’t need that work. However, as I took the time to pay more attention to how I saw and spoke of myself, I realized that I did – the deflecting, the pulling away from affection, the joking self deprecation, and even my lack of caring for myself on most days.

I was having trouble making peace with my new form. My body and self worth had indeed changed. In this new I cannot be as spry, my sleepless habits can be read in the lines on my face, and I am quite a bit rounder than I have ever been. Yes, I had been quietly shaming myself for longer than I cared to admit.

Over the next few weeks, I started the process of organizing most of that which makes up my day to day in order to simplify and take back my worth inside and out. My work closet (because we all know it’s the clothes fault that I feel hideous and unkempt) is down to five tops and a few pairs of jeans that will make morning life easier.. bonus points for less laundry and not sacrificing feeling like I put myself together somewhat.

I am slowly moving to making better food choices and have been doing my yoga every morning. I am keeping up with my meditations and am working on a better sleep schedule. I have also incorporated some simple ritual into my morning quiet daily because my spiritual is very important to me.

A habit I have gotten into in order to deal with Miss Nancy is to carry around a small notebook in which to write what she says to me. I find this an excellent way to address why she is being such a see-you-next-Tuesday and deep dive into what is causing her to be so mean. Once I realize she is mumbling something hideous, I immediately say “STOP!” , open the notebook, and jot down her commentary.

Later, I will take time to read it back and ask myself how it makes me feel. I explore what reasoning this has, what triggered it, and try to remember a time when this may have occurred before. What is my earliest memory where something happened to make me feel this way.? When did this become a part of how I identified my self worth? How could this have happened differently in a manner that was more supportive? What did I need in that moment?

Often, I will then write the statement to reflect a more positive look at it, what challenge this brings me, and even how I thought things should have been. I do this as often as necessary until Miss Nancy understands that I refuse to accept her mean girl mentality and that I choose to offer love in its place.

I also begin my day with a small sun ritual to bring in some light and warmth. I find it sets the tone before I start my meditation and helps me to focus on a brighter start.

Sun Ritual

In the quiet place before my ancestors, I settle comfortably on my cushion. I have a candle, usually something seasonal to honor nature’s cycles, sitting in front of me. I spray myself with my meditation spray, breathe deeply, and speak to greet the day – “in flame, in fire, light that warms my soul, sacred sun”. I then light the candle. In the flame’s warmth, I take up my Mala beads, close my eyes, and move into meditation.

the sister wound

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I was listening to her speak about the collective sister wound and how she felt this was a leftover from the witch trials.. of those forced to turn on each other or face even more horrid consequences. Was this wound set into motion at that time? It is an interesting theory for sure, but I don’t have that answer. What I do know is that it seems to be alive and well.. but I have hope for that to change.

That night I dreamt about spiders. I was exploring a cave with a female friend that I could not see. My brother was ahead helping to clear. He said to us that there was nothing there but sh*t and graves.. and to watch out for the spiders. We had been covered in spiders this entire time. I told him that I had already been bitten. I told him that Grandmother said it was okay. The four of us, if I include my unseen grandmother, moved further on.

The number four is the numerology for the year 2020.. which is of the heart. It is the number of compassion, letting go, stability, vision, and doing the work to cultivate these things. In today’s climate, all of that feels very needed. I know many feel the same. Changes need to be made to heal this wound.. to heal and support our fellow. I only have what I can do.. but ripples, no matter how small, still bring movement. My sisters, please join me.

joie de vivre

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Just to put it out there – I am a bit of a Francophile and I believe in most things woo-woo. Even so, I was a bit taken aback when a moment of great clarity was brought to me via my Oui yogurt top.. Joie de vivre, the joy of living.

With all that is going on right now – stress and the scare surrounding Covid-19, the constant media bombardment, all of our communal uncertainty.. I am just happy to be living. I do my best to push past the fears of the day and be at peace as much as I possibly can because we still are here.. and that’s a wonderful thing. We only have so much control.

I have been keeping up with my meditations and since I work at what is considered an “essential” manufacturing plant, I have been lucky to keep my paycheck going. Because of this, I also haven’t experienced extreme isolation.. plus we will be having social distance dinner with our lovely neighbor friend this evening. There is still joy to be found and I count myself quite lucky. Even in the midst of this chaos, we can hopefully all find something to hold us up.. my yogurt label told me so.

For that which I am grateful for.. all the things:
  1. still working and am donating in smaller ways what I can from the distance because there is always a need
  2. all the beautiful souls in life who support and connect so we don’t feel alone
  3. more quiet time at home with the best husband ever and the fat cats
  4. my stash of hot teas that get me through the day
  5. grumpy cat slippers to warm my constantly cold feet.. although I almost wore them to work again this morning
  6. the reminder that it’s okay to slow down, I am trying to appreciate what beauty that can be found in the now
  7. all of the amazing people helping the collective maintain and provide necessities- gas stations, grocery employees, restaurants providing options where they can, medical staff, etc.. all working themselves to exhaustion. Where would we without these heroes?

little ritual of letting go

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One thing I am learning is that I have to pay better attention to what my body is telling me. I also need to learn to let go a bit and better embrace my new normal. I tend to, even now, overdo things. I spread myself thin and then when I can’t do, I feel lesser or worse.. resentful. This had spilled over most often into my relationships.

These days I have stepped back quite a bit. I spend most of my time at home. I reach out less often because, frankly, I am still spending most of my time trying to figure this out. Yes, I have lost contact and most have dropped away but I can’t feel bad about that. I am doing what is needed to heal.

I spend good days with those I love and the not so taking care of myself as best I can so I can have more good days. When I find myself troubled with something that needs to be set free, I have a little ritual of letting go.

I light a candle, often one with a soothing scent if I have one on hand.. and let’s face it, I am a bit of a candle whore so that’s usually not a problem. I write what it is on a peace of paper (or a bay leaf from the kitchen – very cleansing) and hold it to my heart. Sometimes I do this sitting by my hearth where I keep a place for my ancestors to seek guidance.
Often I just hold it in my mind with just a simple “I choose to no longer hold space for this”, and then I set it aflame. This is the burning away of that which is no longer needed.

I may return the ashes to the earth of the garden and let the wind peacefully carry them away. If at anytime it sneaks back into my thoughts, I acknowledge it and set the thought aside. I have already released this, no point in holding on to it or bringing it back. I can only do my best, and right now I am healing and making space for better things.

caressing the carnelians

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I was milling about in one of my favorite local haunts, obsessively caressing the carnelians with those closest, when the most beautiful point caught my attention. I silently reasoned with it that we would have to get to know each other later as I currently had no wiggle room. I would be back, I promise.. for YOU and for my carnelian friend. I would not forget.

Phantom quartz, the local shop guru told me as the husband gifted it. It had a story, only partially shared, and he was sad to see it go. Honestly, it felt a bit melancholy as I cradled it safe and whispered to it that it would like its new home.. and that it was loved.

Even now, as I am forever learning, I find that I am still more apt to pick up what calls to me instead of intentionally seeking something out. As such, I probably have way more selenite, labradorite, and carnelian (and bones, and feathers, and sticks..) than your average. I am sure there is a message in there  somewhere.. well, besides Kondo can’t touch my shiny preciouses. This one surprised me, however.

Phantom Quartz, I read later, is a powerful healer in that its phantoms bring their own additional messages of wisdom. It’s said to be a stone of growth and transformation.. and of leaving behind the ego to allow for this. When I am not holding it in council to help me work on moving through blockages, it holds space on my moon card pulls to assist in what I have been tasked to focus on. I now see clearly why it called.

what I have learned from the fat cat

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My voluptuous polar bear sized beautiful baby boy has taught me so much these past few months. He is the most chill cat that I have ever had and even though he has been sick for over nine months with no clear diagnosis, he really gives no ducks.

He still enjoys his day to day.. belly rubbing, sofa scratching, water sports in the kitchen floor, and of course most of all – sleeping. He doesn’t over tax himself and when he feels like I am not appreciating the moment (or him) enough, he gives me a sharp bite in the soft meat between my toes and brings me back to center.. total kitty zen.

universal mirror

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Someone once said to me that I was a mirror.. that sometimes people see in me things of themselves they aren’t prepared for reflected back. This, I believe, may have been them eluding to the fact that I tend to ask the uncomfortable questions.. or I used to.

These days I am doing my best to keep to keep my doors locked and my trap shut. I have lost many a friend with honest advice and so now I just don’t let so many people in. I write here as an outlet, a journal of sorts.. and this seems to keep me in the quiet for the most part.

Recently something similar floated over to me during a class – the universe as a mirror reflecting back to us our hidden bits. These are those things about ourselves that we don’t own up to, need to work on, or just don’t like.. and often we judge others on those same things. We may not even realize it.

I picked three trigger words to work on. These are words that if I turn them onto myself really bring forth a negative emotional response and/or are things I find myself judging people on (and so by said theory are things related to my shadow in some form) – self-centered, manipulative, and insignificant.

I have spent quite a bit of time this week living with those words and what it was in essence that originally makes them triggering for me. I am working through taking away their power as we speak and replacing them with kinder ones.. a practice to carry with me.

journey of the unseen

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*just a note – this was one of the first things I had written on my diagnosis.. my chart truly reads cranky old crone. While this blog is not specifically on this topic, it is still a part of my journey. It is what led me to this path of living mindfully and authentically. For those of you who are, like me, struggling with a life of chronic pain – you are strong, you are beautiful, and I see you.

I’ve read that it’s often called the unseen disorder – fibromyalgia.. difficult to diagnose, unseen symptoms, and a stigma of disbelief. I have only recently been diagnosed after two years of misses, multiple tests, and an escalation in pain carrying over ten years. It was my husband that insisted I finally get checked out. Process of elimination, I was told.. my diagnosis was left on my voicemail. Harsh as the delivery method sounds, I was glad to have a name to put with the face. Soon after, I would revisit my rheumatologist for a game plan.. and meanwhile, since I didn’t know much about it, I put on my big girl panties and started researching.

Once I passed my “what fresh hell is this” stage – there isn’t a lot of positive vibe out there, I realized something.. those of us living with this, WE are the unseen. We often wear a mask to push through the pain, and when we are lucky to have days where we feel almost normal, we carry that stigma of disbelief. We are perceived as being okay at best.. faking the extent of what we feel at worst. There are no definitive tests as of yet that we can hold up and say to the universe “see, my pain is real!” So much misinformation exists. It’s hard to keep your chin up in such circumstances, but I am trying. I wish I had the answers. I am at least blessed with a supportive husband and I have a doctor who is working with me. I can hold my head up and speak from the depths and say my pain exists.. and I support those like me who need to be seen.

what works

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Focus on what works.. this was my card draw. Where do I start? There’s my cozy home, full off all the things that bring joy and what the husband affectionately refers to as the witchy junk shop. Speaking of – there’s my best husband in the world who I adore even more than our fancy pants coffee machine (if you knew my love of coffee, that’s something special).

I have the most loving giant monster kitties. There’s enough of a paycheck for us all to eat and live comfortably.. something I am grateful for because it wasn’t always so. I have a strong spiritual practice that provides me with what is needed. I have a really good life. So, basically, I was a bit unsure (other than fine tuning my manifestation list) on how to fully embrace this card.. that was until the full moon rolled around.

I am a big believer in always seeking, always learning.. even if I am not exactly sure it will be a fit for me. It enables me the chance to embrace a bit of new, or at least rule out what doesn’t move me. With this in mind, I decided to continue on with the work of the previous full moon. After all, I felt like I was still seeing ripples of movement from it.

Although I see it as more of a jumping off point, with parts of it guiding a loose framework, I want to really work through the original process a few more times. I would like to get a better feel for what is (and is not) fitting with ease.

Intuitively I feel like simplifying the meditation and allowing the different aspects of the ritual flow in hand with the entire cycle instead of cramming all the tasks into one go would be better. I think this would not only allow for focus where needed in any particular place in the cycle but also work more in hand with the moon’s energies. I am excited to see how this evolves.