Tag Archives: New Year New You

Lammas 2017 – Gonna Get My Girl Body Back (This is a Work in Progress)

You know what I’m doing for Lammas this year? I’m shaving my goddamn legs. That’s what.
My morning wasn’t great. Like: French Toast for breakfast is pretty swell, but doing it because you are SICK-SICK-SICK of fried eggs and toast, but that’s all you have? Less great. CREATIVE, maybe, but not great. Adding lemon curd definitely helped, mind you. 😉
 
Still.
 
Ms Sugar has a new post up about Lammas and creating rituals/rites/ceremonies that don’t focus on (a) adding extra heat to the kitchen, or (b) sacrificial dudes of the sun and grain. She’s using Juliet Capulet as a template here and… okay, this is a baby-girl who offed herself OVER A BOY inside of a week of turning 14. So the call be selective about Teenager Experiences is probably a wise one. >.> None the less, I get (I think) where she’s going with this.
 
So I shaved my legs. I put Wild Heart oil blend (made by a bath-stuff-supplies crafty vendor years ago, I don’t even remember who… sorry) because of the name, and because the licorice scent (anise essential oil, along with perum balsam and I don’t remember what the third bit is) of it makes me think of the anise hyssop I’ve been rubbing my fingers against, every chance I get, around town.
 
Last night, my wife, her girlfriend, and I went to Kontinuum – a sound-and-lights show set in an incomplete subway tunnel, down town. It reminded me a lot of the Rave Stuff that the CU architecture students used to do, back when that was still legal. The scafolding was for artistic purposes only (as in: will support light fixtures and speakers and screens NOT human bodies), but… Let’s just say I would LOVE the opportunity to go dancing in a club with support structures – gogo cages, fixed (pin in, so no rotation) stripper poles, barres, that kind of thing – so that me and my fucked back and knees could really get wild.
Ideally a Tea Dance (Like 2pm to 7pm) in the kind of place where the windows are all super blacked-out, so that the day-light can’t get in, possibly with a tunnel to make your way through – perhaps with beaded curtains or tactile not-exactly-obstacles – to help get people into the “we’re in a different world now” head space. Like: First we brunch then we dance (and possibly fuck-in-the-bathroom) then we sushi and cocktails, and then we fuck some more.
 
That would be great (good thing it’s Pride Month around here…)
 
So. For those of you who don’t know, the title of this post (other than the Lammas 2017 part) is also the title of an essay by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna Samarasinha (one of my favourite poets, and femme auntie extraordinaire). What does this have to do with Lammas?
Fuck all (well… wait for it…), except that I’ve been feeling gross and awful for ages, and I want to feel better!
So.
I’ve been glamour-boarding, in the name of reminding myself what I like and what I want to look like (and also to generate Ideas for this autumn’s Harvest) and it’s equal parts burlesque/pin-up, tribal fusion, JuneCleaver/JoanHolloway, leather/fetish/gothic stuff, pics of Lagertha/Valkyrie, and women with horns/feathers/claws. So… I haven’t changed.
Which is good to know.
But also: I miss having red hair.
I stopped dying it over a year ago. For… Reasons… >.>
Basically, I thought “Why am I dumping chemicals on my head if it’s not making me beautiful?” (yes, you read that right…)
And then I thought “If Laura Jane can be this beautiful, without dying her hair, and we have the same colouring… Maybe?”
…So I stopped dying it.
And now I miss it. I imagine ME, glamourous (you can define that as fascinating or powerful or sensual, because they all apply), and my hair’s the colour of old claret.
 
Ms Sugar talks about the Red Ladies. The goddess who handle sex, money, power, whoring, and sensuality. At least, my sunshine Lady certainly covers all those bases and her colour is RED (even if mine isn’t – in spite of the above “I miss having red hair” situation). And today is one of her feast days. So why the hell not, right?
Right.

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New Moon – Leaf Moon Begins; Beltane 2017

New Moon in Taurus was on Wednesday. Beautiful green things are leafing out all over. The hyacinths are blooming, even in my shady AF front yard. My wife’s Dog Harness contract is over-over-over (beyond doing some management stuff, which is fine and won’t take too much of her time) and she is back to doing actual LEATHER work at her workshop. Chani is telling us all about how New Moon in Taurus brings love and solid commitment to accomplishing good things, how Venus (which is finally stationed direct, and which rules Taurus) is being a little more gentle with her lessons while still effortlessly getting thing done as she moves through compassionate Pisces. The HoodWitch informs us that this particular New Moon touches on, well, a whole lot of stuff that’s in my personal “Oh, gods, do I really have to deal with this???” house – money, work, emotional patterns based on security – all that Job Stuff, not to mention the “too cautious to move, too incautious not to leap” stuff that’s been asking me to find a behvioural happy medium that will actually let me get stuff don – like body, sensuality, home-and-family STUFF – without a lot of hand waving and/or skipping over (or right back into) my own shit in the process. The HoodWitch horoscopes for this week are ringing a lot of bells, on that front, too. Handily, she has some lovely, appropriately sensual, simple rituals to help me (or you, for that matter) focus intentions and, frankly, put a call out for help or support on dealing with my Feeeeelings And Stuff around these subjects & situations.
On an only somewhat related note, Ariel, over at Siobhan’s Mirror, has handed me a tarotscope that’s all about recognizing that wishes can, and have, come true. The tarot reading I gave myself at New Moon said much the same, with the Nine of Cups featuring prominently and a heap of signs pointing to All That Struggle being behind me (well, mostly – my Present includes the 3 of swords crossed with the High Priestess, which suggests I’m still Processing) and the need for me to realize that, rather than all this good stuff I’m starting to step into being just “wishful thinking” and me kidding myself, I’m actually shifting towards the more playful, well-boundaried, pleasure-achieving open-heartedness that I’ve been striving for with regards to my Queen Of Cups project.
All of which is fantastic news. I mean, seriously. LOOK at this:
 

 
Beltane (today) dawned rainy, grey and cold. Which is pretty par for the course, in these parts, even if we were having gorgeous, gorgeous super-warm weather earlier in the week.
I’m home today. Planting sorrel and collards. Doing multiple loads of dishes. Vacuuming. Baking bread. Baking a lot of things, actually, mostly to use up the kefir in the fridge and make room for the next batch. >.>
We hung the ancestor photos (all but two – we ran out of screws) – FINALLY – over the weekend, and I’m feeling a whole lot better about that whole situation.
 
New Moon plus the Year Gate swinging into Spring and towards the rapidly approaching Summer (that’s Ottawa – Three weeks between grey-and-mud-and-near-freezing-temperatures and flowers-and-flipflops-and-30-degree-highs), no wonder things feel like new beginnings.
 
What do I want to call into my life? Well, as Miss Sugar puts it, Butter, A Dress, and Travel.
Maybe, more accurately, I should say that I’m feeling hopeful on the heart front and, while there are still things to be sorted out, I don’t think I’m in the metaphorical dark woods anymore. I’m in the sparsely treed borderlands, at worst. (I reeeeeeeeeally hope I’m not wrong on that). But I’ve still got Scarcity Brain eating at me and, frankly, I’m thirty-seven. I would like my middle-age to look less like Catfood For Dinner Is A Real Possibility and more like… more like Wife and I (and anyone else we end up living with, because polyamoury) are both bringing in enough money, doing flexibly-scheduled, preferably part-time work, ideally in a creative field, that we each like and are good at, that we can cover our expenses, have an RRSP or two, go on an actual Vacation now and then, and share some of that cash with other people who are doing art and activism that we like and care about. I would like my old age (which feels a whole lot closer now than it did ten years ago) to be comfortable and gentle, rather than impoverished and stressed out.
 
Keep Calm and Carry Green Garnets in Your Wallet, I guess?
 
 
~*~
 
Motion: Went swimming yesterday (mostly this involved sitting in a hot tub, but there was some treading water in the deep end of the pool as well). Enjoying how easy it is to walk places these days, too! There’s a day-dance coming up in just under a week, which I’m looking forward to. Raking out the garden and doing lots of bending and digging in a friend’s flower beds, the other day, has left me with slightly stronger thighs (and also sore feet).
 
Attention: Paying attention to my boundaries, to the sprouts sprouting in my garden (some are wanted, some are most-like not, but I’m not sure what everything is yet, so…), to friends going through hard times, to my Feelings around money/employment and how I tend to see “wealth” (fiancial) and “abundance” (everything else) as two distinct categories that don’t have a lot of overlap and maaaaaaay be mutually exclusive (I gotta fix, that, you guys… it is not helping me out right now). Also throwing some more attention at The Novel.
 
Gratitude: Thankful for rain, for getting the ancestor photos hung, for lots of frozen veggies still in the freezer, for finding out (how did I not know this already?) that my wife actually LIKES tinned cream of mushroom soup! (Who knew?) For romantic canoodling. For people who want to hear my thoughts. For time to sit in a hot tub and relaaaaaaaaax. For flowers coming up in the front yard, and the slow spreading of my ground-cover plants. For a quiet week. For repeat clients calling and booking again. For kind friends who help me out with stuff I don’t know how to fix myself (take that however you want to).
 
Inspiration: Queer Femme Witches, and Queer Witches more generally, Everywhere. ❤ Spending time with other writerly chicks, nattering over plot-fixing and character development. Reading Black Wave (Michelle Tea) and Nevada (Imogen Binnie) and trying to learn how to make a self-absorbed character who doesn’t have her shit together likeable, or at least relateable, or failing that, enough of a train-wreck to be interesting. >.>
 
Creation: I continue to slog away at The Novel, as mentioned above. Trying to sort out how the hell the climax will work (which involves sorting out what the book is Actually About). Poking at the poetry of other femmes, choosing poems to gloss, and lines to build new poetry from. ❤

New Year New You 2016: Week 18 – Body Time + Taking Stock

I’m doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation (again) because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. You should try it!
 
Instructions: “Do I think you need to know how to quiet your mind and focus to do magic? Yes!” So, take a minute to empty the “old crap” out of your brain, so there’s “room to let new crap in”.
 
Tarot Card: For this prompt, I’m strongly inclined to go with Temperence, given its connotations of balance, of pause and reflect, of integration. But I could have just as easily gone with The Hanged Man with its connotations of edges, of new perspectives, even night vision (king of insight…), the clarity that can come from taking a minute to look at things from all angles, to wait and see. Likewise, the Seven of Earth – the suit of embodiment, its number linked to both hope (the Star) and action (the Chariot) – that urges us to look at what we’ve accomplished while reminding us that change takes time would also be an appropriate choice.
 
So someone (Parneet from Chai Chats, iirc) once very effectively explained meditation as “This is not Mind Time. This is Body Time”. Like, rather than focusing on Emptying Your Mind, the whole point of meditation (sitting quietly style meditation) is to check in with your body and connect with yourself physically. That’s what the whole “focus on your breath” thing is about.
Me? I spend a HUGE amount of my life in Mind Time. Hours and hours spent sifting through thoughts and cognitive patterns, dealing with a lymbic system that is sometimes No Help At All and trying to forge new habits and pathways by rote and force of Will… But Brene says “We move what we know from our heads to our hearts through our hands” and so Body Time is a needed thing, as well.
 
Body Time is hours spent making thumbprint shortbread cookies and vegan ginger snaps. It’s the repetitive work of chopping food for large-batch cooking and canning, and the over-under-around-and-through of knitting a shrug worth of garter stitch, the back-and-forth of weaving, the twist-and-fling of spinning on a drop spindle. All those “stimming” things that keep me level and calm and focused when anxiety and ambient noise are threatening to carry me away.
Body Time is pausing to feel my feet, set my roots down into the ground, it’s taking a minute to breath extra deep, into the spots in my hips that aren’t always there, all the way down into my shins, to feel with my whole body. It’s doing a little shoulder-focused dance to help my spine straighten and my stiff, aching lower-back muscles loosen up.
Body Time is letting myself enjoy a kiss, lean into a touch, feel everything all the way down rather than shying away from sensation. It’s paying attention to sensation, to wants and desires that show up physically, adding new techniques to the tool kit of Things That Help Me Stay and then actually using them when I need them.
 
Body Time is, to be honest, still a work in progress, but it’s getting easier. Some days, the part of my brain that insists that experiencing desire is, in and of itself, monstrous, something to be ashamed of, something that it’s abusive and wrong to even voice… some days, that part of me still does the driving. Although I’m getting a little better at wrestling the keys back and feeling my way into my own frame again.
I have made progress on this front.
I am having an easier time recognizing that I’m loved and cared for. I’m having an easier time holding two hard, sad things in my hands at once while still continuing to actually move forward. My year-at-a-glance horoscope for 2017 includes the phrase “happiness is an inside job” which… on the one hand: Duh. On the other hand: This suggests that I’ll be working on “How to get to Happy” for a little while longer. But there’s been movement. I feel like I’m part-way up the mountain and, while I’m not there yet, if I stop for a minute and take a damn breath, I can look behind me and see that I’ve actually gone a fair ways so far. This is good. I’m not quite at the Queen of Cups “end goal” of my project, more like a conscious embodiment of the Page of Cups while still trying to navigate the Knight of Cups‘ characteristics in a way that includes good boundaries and self-compassionate caution instead of EITHER “flinging myself off a cliff” (the eyes-wide-shut Relentless Hope that is sometimes part of the Three of Fire) in the name of “earning” the love and belonging one craves OR the kind of walled-up paranoia that can lead one to freezing everybody out and being lonely and hungry all the time (the emotional equivalent of the Four of Earth).
Fingers crossed that I can pull this off. ❤

New Year New You 2016: Weeks 16 & 17 – Big Magic, Little Rituals, and Winter Solstice

I’m doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation (again) because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. You should try it!
 
Instructions: “This is a good week to work on shoaling […]. Make all your tiny magic fish into one big magic fish.” AND “[It’s] time to do a big ritual to further one or more of your goals.”
 
Tarot Cards: The High Priestess with a side-order of The Queen of Fire. The deep-digging and drawing-up of the High Priestess, the attention I’m giving to magically/energetically developing my Whale Heart, the energetic labour of reaching out (both to and for) and gathering together,of making space for others and letting my own light be visible and undeniable.
 
So… It’s been Solstice. Which is kind of a big ritual in and of itself, even when my version of it, this year, was super low-budget and not very fancy: I put up the holly garlands, but didn’t hang any ornaments from them. Our major nod to Seasonal Decor is a giant poinsettia that was gifted/off-loaded (either/or, works for me – thank you) from one of my temping clients on Friday afternoon, largely so that they wouldn’t come back to work in January to the sight of a giant, wilted poinsettia in their main foyer.
Last year, we hung the ornaments and lit everything (ineffectively) by candle light, which is how I normally do things. This year… I actually wanted to see where the food was and not trip over everything or spill the wine. So I kept the electric lights on. I’m sure there’s something symbolic about the marriage of Reason and Sensuality, or keeping one’s eyes open, or whatever and I’ll probably develop that thought As Needed over the next couple of days as I see Fam-of-O and weather potentially-difficult/painful Poly Family Gatherings. (I have a couple of escape plans for the latter, and can I just say Thank Fuck for the people who are looking out for me!)
This morning, I left a note on the FB Event for my annual Winter Solstice party (which has never been a Go Until Dawn kind of shindig, and is basically wine, cheese, chocolate, and conversation, all of-which I love, followed by In Bed By 1am, if not earlier, and re-hydrating like woah the next morning) telling all my guests (and all the folks who couldn’t make it out) how lucky I am to have such good people in my life, and how they bring the light back to me again and again.
It’s a thing that’s worth saying out loud, y’know?
 
My magic, these days, doesn’t look much like magic in the “whizz, bang” sense of the word. It’s not honey pots or actively-magical glamour – though the practice of wearing a Crown Of Light[1] has gotten a lot easier since I started doing it back in… May(?), and I don’t have to focus on it the whole time, or be wearing 14 layers of physical-world femme armour, to keep it in place. It’s more like prayer, gratitude practice, greeting my gods as and when I have the opportunity, recognizing those You’re On The Right Track moments[2], breathing myself all the way into my body.
One little bit of more “magicky” magic that I’ve been doing, though, is to use my little bottle of Unveiled – one of Miss Sugar’s limited edition ritual oils, from years ago – to anoint my heart-chakra/sternum while asking “let me see what’s really there”. This is both Energy Work (complete with visualizations and pushing energy around) and a prayer for (a) the chance to observe and recognize the ways that I actually am supported & cared for, as well as (b) the ability to discern the appropriate degree of personal investment for a given relationship based on how much the other person is actually There For Me.
Fingers crossed that this one will work.
 
As far as Big Rituals go, my Winter Solstice Shindig is kind of the big one I do every year. It’s not a “ritual” in the straight-up religious sense. But it’s a celebratory way to mark the turning of the year, to light up my altar and make offerings to my gods (and the crows), and to gather my people close. I’m a Kitchen Witch, and this is kind of What We Do.
With that in mind – perhaps unsurprisingly – a lot of the foods I prepared (more From Scratch than ever, this year, because I didn’t have the cash to just go out and buy baguettes, artichoke dip, rabbit terrine, or fancy cheese) for our Winter Solstice celebrations had a LOT of “love and protection” correspondences built into them. Part of that is just because a lot of common house-hold ingredients have those correspondences anyway. But the other part is that: This is what I need right now. To protect my heart without closing it. To actively care for people without putting myself in harm’s way. To risk, courageously, and open myself up to love and care (both giving and receiving it) while also giving myself permission to protect myself and put my own oxygen mask on first. So I built that into the foods I made and served during Celebration Time.
 
So that’s the magic I’ve been doing. The Good Witching of checking in with friends who may or may not have people to spend their holidays with, or who just started meds; the word-magic of speaking things aloud, of naming and claiming, calling out and calling in; the rallying of reinforcements when someone near and dear to me needs to know that they’re loved; the opening myself again and again (and messing it up, and falling back on old habits, and trying to do it better the next time), the changing consciousness at will (which is a longer process than Starhawk makes it sound in Spiral Dance, let me tell you). That’s the magic I’ve been doing. My witchcraft isn’t particularly subversive. But it works.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] What is says on the tin. I visualize putting on a crown that shows up like a spotlight on my hair. It’s based on a poem I wrote about being a figure model and how much easier it is to be bullet-proof when I’m NOT trying to look Put Together in clothes that were never designed to fit me, the last line of-which is “The light on your hair all the crown you’ll ever need”. It… seems to be fairly effective, as it turns out. 🙂
 
[2] Like yesterday, when I was right in the middle of stream-of-consciousness tweeting about a Thing that has dawned on me, and one of the ladies I was working for sashayed over and gifted me a bottle of nail polish just for the hell of it[3].
 
[3] I admit that I’m a little concerned at how my “you’re on the right track” markers seem to be seriously linked to Protestant-Capitalism’s interpretation of the Kalvinist Doctrine of Predestination, but… this seems to be working, so I’m going with it.

New Year New You 2016: Weeks 14 & 15 – Searching for a Sign + One Small Step and Then One More

I’m doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation (again) because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. You should try it!
 
Instructions: “Now would be a good time to check in with your personal Powers That Be (PTB) about your goals. […] How do your PTB’s advice change your approach to your goals?” PLUS “We’ve spent a few more weeks thinking, planning, and doing magic. Now it’s time to return to the task at hand: doing the work necessary to accomplish our goals.”.
 
Tarot Cards: Eight of Vessels (Week 14) + Two of Earth (Week 15).
 
So. I spent the past month-and-a-bit avoiding my tarot cards. A mixture of being afraid of what they’d tell me and being afraid of how I’d mis/read things (the stories in our heads are frequently how we interpret readings for ourselves, and it’s easy to read worst-case scenarios AND wishful-thinking daydreams into what the cards have to say).
None the less, messages have a way of getting through.
A huge part of the Queen of Cups Project has been, basically, answering the question of “How do I get to Happy?” Miss Sugar talks, occasionally, about Radiomancy – the practice of seeing what pops up when you spin the dial, put your playlist on shuffle, or otherwise just see what songs are screaming at you from the airwaves.
I’ve been getting these two a lot. Plus this came across my desk this morning.
Gosh, do you think someone is trying to tell me something?
>.>
 
Yeah.
 
My Eight of Water story is, basically, “Gotta let this one go. No fixing it. Time to start again. Put your energy somewhere else” like, say, feeding your whale heart and nurturing relationships with people who actually care about you. Combine that with all the “Femme Emotional Labour” and “Trojan Horse Boundary Crossing” stories I’ve been getting linked to, of late (or, y’know, all freaking year…) and, yeah. The Eight of Blooms (top, right) is the pearl found (at last?) after going through a lot of oysters. All those discarded heart and vulva shapes ringing a treasure found by moonlight, by shining a light on all my old patterns and assumptions. The “rebirth” of the Eight of Vessels is a reminder that there will be other chances, that it’s hard to be happy when you’re fussing over every little thing in order to “make” yourself worthy in the eyes of someone who, when you get right down to it, messed with your head and took advantage of you, no matter how much of a compassionate lens you can view that through.
 
So that’s the information I’ve been getting.
 
How does that translate into One Small Thing I can do to push towards my goal?
My Queen of Cups goal has been to become more receptive, to understand that I’m actually loveable and worthy rather than just some fuck-up who has too much privilege and too much monster-brain to warrant being cared for without having to seriously earn that stuff. So…
I mentioned feeding my “whale heart”. That’s a Life Coaching thing, my “new Way of being/operating” that is self-compassionate, and doesn’t truck with people who won’t step up to meet her needs the way she steps up to meet theirs. The one small thing, the moment-to-moment practical thing I can do to feed my Whale Heart is to practice being kind to myself and doing what’s actually good for me.
Yes, it’s totally a challenge – I’m something of what Nydia Dauphin calls a “high functioning self-neglector”. Way more likely to make food if I’m feeding someone other than myself. Way more likely to swallow the worst of my feelings and focus on others than make them listen to me whine (uh… this entire blog notwithstanding…) – but it’s also necessary. So. Things I can do right now along those lines?
 
Start the latest batch of stock + process a bunch of sunchokes/as’kebwan’ for the freezer. This will make it easier for me to make meals later on.
 
Put dinner in the oven (I dug through my meat bin, in the freezer, and pulled out a tiny roast. This, with some sunchokes/as’kebwan’ will be a good start to dinner. I can throw in some frozen veggies or pickled beets and sour kraut (if they’re ready) for veggie content) and make myself Real Food instead snacking on crackers until my wife gets home to start cooking. It’s not quite making Real Food For Just Me, but it’s a step in that direction.
 
Bake something (probably soda bread and/or brownies using whey and/or Gone Off Milk). This will be creative, plus it will mean easy go-to food available for lunches and snacks over the next few days. It will also clean out the fridge a bit, which won’t hurt.
 
Do 10 minutes of yoga (child’s pose, plank, tree, warrior pose in one direction, Goddess pose, warrior pose in the opposite direction, downward dog, heart-melting pose, child’s pose again), possibly while humming. This will work my body, strengthen my arms and my core (good for my back), remind me to make music and let me move energy through my body.
 
Start anointing my heart chakra with “Unveiled” – a limited edition perfume/magical oil that Miss Sugar made, years ago – to help me see what I usually can’t/won’t see, the bad stuff I wish wasn’t there, but also the good stuff that I’m too prone to ignoring or refusing to allow in.
 
Wish me luck!
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

New Year New You 2016: Week 13 – Sacrifice (You are the Thing That is Burning)

I’m doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation (again) because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. You should try it!
 
Instructions: A meaningful sacrifice to your Powers That Be. You and your PTB will know best what that is for you. Think on it.
 
Tarot Card: Judgement (20 of Major Arcana).
I picked this one for a couple of reasons. One is because of the Mary-El version of the card, which is very-much in line with the title of this post. Another is the idea of “Judgy Judgy Judgy” and the way we can be cruel to ourselves, the way our Jerk Brains can say the meanest things, in the (mistaken) idea that dissuading us from leaving our comfort zones will keep us safe. The third is the Osho version of this card, Beyond Illusion, which has to do with the “sacrifice” theme of this week’s prompt (the Collective Tarot’s take on it is also relevant, in terms of end goals, fyi).
So I’m going with it.
 
I’m just over two months away from the year-mark of my Queen of Cups project, and right about at the year-mark for when I started getting Messages about becoming more receptive in the first place. I have to say it’s been an interesting ride, given that where I’ve ended up is a question about how to have better boundaries. This isn’t particularly surprising, but it’s not what I was originally expecting when I set out to teach myself how to Let More Good Stuff In and how to be More Vulnerable (in the asking for what I need way) in relationships that matter to me.
Then again, it’s been a pretty constant internal argument with myself to avoid going back to the definition of “boundaries” that essentially means “nobody is allowed in, ever” and hang onto the one that (is fairly theoretical but also probably a better plan, and) says “boundaries” mean “I decide who is allowed in, and how far, and under what circumstances… and will back myself off accordingly if my needs aren’t being met”.
 
To that end, I’ve been pushing up against some significant edges during my most recent life coaching sessions. I’ve been reading about Non-Violent Communication, the notions of observing and naming my feelings, and of voicing needs and making actionable requests of people to help me meet those needs.
It suuuuucks.
I read a chapter, and my shoulders hike right up around my ears. My teeth come out, and I seriously start spoiling for a fight. Turns out my metaphorical Flailing Mermaid has had a lot to say about changing the way I interact with people when it comes to boundaries, needs, and consequences.
This is the bit about “Judgy” that I was talking about, above.
So, here I am, staring the “sacrifice” prompt in the face, and haaaaating the idea of giving up something that I value. I don’t think this particular NYNY Goal is one that can be met by limiting my time on social media or deciding to stick with fair trade chocolate, sugar, coffee and so-on[1].
 
The thing I have to give away is my illusions.
 
You remember I did a tarot reading a little while ago?
The thing that is burning, when The Tower shows up, is me.
 
I’ve been telling myself old stories over the past couple of days. Like, noticeably replaying Old Tapes, grinding old axes, getting mad (inside my head) at everyone whoever Wronged Me in some way. And I know that pattern.
What do I have to give away in order to get what I want?
If what I want is Liberation (which could also be understood through the last “phase” of this version of the 10 of Air), I have to move myself Beyond the Illusions that I’ve build around myself that simultaneously tell me (a) that I’m not worthy of love and care and kindness, but also (b) that Needing Things is how you get yourself hurt, so better off to keep your damn mouth shut if you’re codependent enough to need something in the first place[2].
 
So. How do I offer this to the fire?
How, in a situation where the behaviours associated with The Flailing Mermaid are part of me, have redeeming qualities that I want to keep, and which – like it or not – are never going to go away, how do I give away the control I let those behaviours have on me?
How do I let that go?
The answer, I suspect, is “slowly”. Slowly, but consistently, a sliver at a time, one bad habit at a time, burn a new path through my internal woods, tread it enough that I know my new way and don’t always twist towards the old.
 
~*~
In terms of how to back this up with some magical working, mind you, I can see doing some sort of a fire ritual. Write out the old way and feed it to the flames, spread the ash on my garden and let it compost into something good and new.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Although, for the record, Ben and Jerry’s (which recently spoke out in support of Black Lives Matter) does fair trade cocoa and sugar on at least some (“Cherry Garcia” and “If I Had 1,000,000 Flavours”) of their stuff, which is always good to know. I’ve added them to my list of Approve Ice Cream (even if they are owned by Unilever), alongside Kawartha Dairy (which is Delicious and made in Ontario).
 
[2] Here I’m thinking of Brene Brown’s Rising Strong and the chapter about struggling with shame around need and needing, and how, when you are afraid/ashamed of needing things (or people, or help), you have set up a hierarchy where people who need/receive are Less Than people who help/give. I have a weird(?) relationship with needing and receptivity. Some stuff – like home-made dinner, hugs, or second-hand furniture – is easy for me to receive. Other stuff – like small-but-special presents or people going out of their way for me – is harder. Other stuff – like flirtatious attention, sexual touch, heaps of cash, or very generous gifts (which… 2nd Chakra Stuff, much?) – is very, very difficult. I get suspicious about what I’m going to “owe” the other person, or nervous about not giving them the performance/response they’re (in theory) wanting “in exchange” for giving me so much attention, effort, or “energy” (what is this thing where money = energy? I don’t entirely get it) which, in itself, can land me in Trigger Land or the kind of emotional storms with-which my Flailing Mermaid is all too familiar, real fast. I have difficultly needing things (and talking out loud about same) and difficulty receiving things – even if some of those things are much easier than others – and maybe it’s not surprising that the two go hand in hand AND that being “the giving one” feels powerful and safe (or powerless but indispensable, which is also a kind of “safe”… in a way) while being the “needing (“needy”) one” feels vulnerable (it is), dangerous/unstable, and burdensome/shameful (it’s not, but I’m having trouble working that into my bones). Relevant stuff here. Still sorting it through.

New Year New You 2016: Week Twelve – Every Day You’re Hustling

I’m doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation (again) because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. You should try it!
 
Instructions: This week is about putting your money where your mouth is. I want you to keep a daily journal. In it, talk about what you’ve done that day to accomplish your goal(s).
 
Tarot Card: Eight of Disks. This one was a bit of a no-brainer. The Eight of Earth is all about the daily grind, about getting it done, day in and day out, about the dilligence it takes to stick to a task until you get good at it (practice, practice, practice), which is what this week’s prompt is about. In the Wooden Tarot, the Eight of Bones is a spine, calling up both “put your back into it” and “don’t chicken out (don’t be spine-less)”, which touch on this week’s prompt while also acknowledging the “continuing in spite of your fears and doubts” elelments of Week Eleven.
 
But here’s a thing. In the collective tarot, whose suit of earth is also called Bones, the Eight of Bones is a ribcage, with a crysalys at its heart.
 

Eight of Bones - Collective Tarot A ribcage with eight ribs.  There is a crysalys nested in the sternum over (or in place of) the heart.  Below the ribcage, fiddlehead ferns are starting to unfurl.

Eight of Bones – Collective Tarot
A ribcage with eight ribs. There is a crysalys nested in the sternum over (or in place of) the heart. Above the crysalys hangs the figure-8 of the infinity symbol, echoing the transformative potential of The Magician in the Major Arcana. Below the ribcage, fiddlehead ferns are starting to unfurl.


 
That’s what the daily grind, the dedication, will get you. Personal evolution. Personal transformation.
 
Every time I (grudgingly) do plank to build my core-strength and literaly take the pressure off my spine; every time I pause to check in with my body, to see what feels good, to see what feels at all; every time I answer my journaling questions for Life Coaching; every time I push myself to stay with hope (which is so, so scary)… every time I do any of that, I’m letting the crysalys around my heart get a little more mature, I’m letting my internal changes move a little farther on the journey from where I was to where I want to be.
 
Miss Sugar asks:

Have you made you an option instead of a priority?

 
This isn’t easy.
 
Taking time out for myself – when my whole life feels like “free time” half the time, when I get so angry at myself for still being a tumult of anxiety[1] in spite of having rigged my life so that I mostly don’t have to deal things that are uncomfortably beyond my control[2] – it feels like… It feels like “Gods, Meliad, do you have to baby yourself even more than you already do???”
 
But the whole point of my Queen of Cups Project is to be more capable of receoptivity, of accepting kindness, pleasure, care, Good Things, into my life and my body without getting all freaked out about it. To be able to receive, as well as give, with an open heart (and open legs). To be able to trust instead of self-sabotaging thanks to my insecurities. To be able to trust realistically and with good boundaries rather than flinging myself off a cliff, so to speak, and hoping my reckless trust will prove I’m worthy of not shattering on the rocks.
… And doing that means I have to be able – be willing and able – to be good to myself, to be trust-worthy to myself, to follow-through with, and take care of, my Self.
 
So. If you’ll excuse me, I have Exercises I need to work through, and salsa I need to finish canning.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Fun Fact: There is a farely good chance that I have “generalized anxiety disorder”, and have had it since childhood! I’m not looking to get a diagnosis, since meds are probably not the way to go here, but having that “Oh… that explains a lot…” moment after self-diagnostic test #3 came up with the same result, plus having a better idea of which strategies and techniques for managing this stuff are most likely to work? It’s been a big help.
 
[2] I work from home, I work with my wife, I do an outside-the-house job that I’m extremely good at and valued for. I may be broke all the time, but I’m also able to keep us somewhat-creatively fed on limited cash. I know how to rig the odds and ask for advice/information from My People through tarot, I put effort into maintaining the relationships I have with my awesome, reliable friends whom I can count on, I live down town so that I can walk everywhere, and can’t use “But… transit…” as an excuse not to leave the house and try new things, etc, etc…