Tag Archives: New Year New You

New Year New You 2016: Reflections So Far + Week 10: What Motivates You?

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!
 
Reflection Instructions: “[…]Reflect on the last nine weeks and talk about what you’ve learned” about yourself, your practice, your project, and where you want to be.
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Week 10 Instructions: Do some navel gazing: What are your reasons for working on your goals? What makes you eager to work on them?
 
I’m combining these two prompts… for no real reason, except that I can? We’ll see if they wind up having common themes or not.
 
Tarot CardS:
Reflection: Ha, I’m half-inclined to suggest the Hanged Man because of it’s “pause” and (in particular) “mirror” or aspects, or even its “seeing things from a new angle” elements. We’ll see if I stick with that, though.
Motivation: Part of me wants to choose The Chariot (AKA: The Archer, Awareness) because it’s very much about “get up / wake up, and go!”, about finding and directing your energy. It’s a card about being motivated in general. But… In reality, a lot of my motivation – for this project, and also in life more broadly – is the 4 of cups + the 6 of cups. Dissatisfaction, self-isolation, the search for self-knowledge, sadness (all Four of Cups traits) combined with the Six of Cups’ yearning for something better, and re/connected to others (sometimes obtainable, sometimes… no so much, but either way)… that’s what tends to push me into action. A sense of “gotta fix this” combined (more frequently) with “I am sick of feeling this way”.
(Heh… actually, the “Turning In” aspect of the Four of Cups would work well for the Reflections part of this post, too…)
 
Anyway.
So, yeah. Via tarot cards, I’ve already talked about what motivates me, but let’s dig into that a little more with specific respect for this NYNY Project.
 
Strictly speaking, I started my Queen of Cups Project because I was sick of feeling miserable all the time and wanted to get better at welcoming good things/people/feelings into my life. All the Brené Brown stuff (that I would end up reading in February 2016) about Preemptive Tragedy and Camping Out in the Swamp of Disappointment? I didn’t have words for it yet, but I knew it was a major problem. So my motivation was definitely about wanting to lift/shake myself out of my perpetual Four of Cups funk.
 
The dirty little secret, though, is that I also started this project because I was afraid my partner would leave me (…and she did) if I didn’t shape up and stop freaking out all the time. Lots and lots of stuff about “Is this in my head? I don’t know what to think” facing off against “This love is dificult, but it’s real…” and not knowing how much of my anxiety and spun-ness was due to my own self-inflicted meta-naratives (meaning stuff I could fix by myself) versus how much of it… wasn’t. A lot of yearing for the loving, second-chance, taking-care-of-each-other energy of the Six of Cups. Not a great reason to start a self-improvement project (although probably not an uncommon one, either).
 
Negative reinforcement can go a long way towards pushing me to do something.
But my other major motivator is success.
 
Which brings me to the “reflection” part of this post.
 
I think it’s going well.
 
I’ve been doing these prompts in order, but I haven’t been pushing myself to do them week-by-week. As such, it’s been a solid six months – rather than 10 weeks – since I started this project. There was a break-up in there, with a bonus sharp reminder that “fixing myself” is only going to work if I’m doing it for my own sake, rather than because I’m doing the desperate worthiness/shame dance and trying to “become someone worth loving” (yeah, I know. I know). But there’s also been time.
 
Listening to all the Slow Down messages I was getting meant giving my magic the chance to actually game the odds with enough time to get a run-up at things. It meant giving myself time enough to learn Handy Truths from Leah Horlick’s and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s poetry, from Brené Brown’s work, from Ms Sugar’s glamour guide blog posts, and from numerous queer, almost exclusively) femme, tarot readers (go give them some love), as well as time to let things fix a bit better in my marrow than they might have if I’d pushed myself to keep to the “Just Keep Pushing” time-frame established by the course. (Which doesn’t mean that the time-frame is bad, just that this is a deeper project than “change where my money comes from” or get this book finished”… or at least it is in my case).
 
Heading into “phase two” of NYNY (prompts 10 – 23), I’m going to keep the pace I’ve set for myself, keep working on glamour and self-glamouring, keep working on tarot, keep working on me and all of my Feeeeelings Stuff. (P.S.: The Help that arrived in Week Nine? I am having a preliminary consultation on Sunday. woohoo!)
 
And,with all that in mind, off we go. 🙂
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

New Year New You 2016: Week Nine – Asking For Help

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: “Asking for help feels almost like admitting defeat. And by defeat, I mean admitting that you’re not invincible. Well. You’re not. Sorry.“… So ask for the help that you need.
 
Tarot Card: I…honestly have no idea. Part of me wants to choose a Six card. The six of fire (abundance, success) or the six of earth (for its elements of checking in and touching base)… but neither of those is quite right. Part of me wants to name the Nine of Cups (for its “wishes coming true” aspect) and part of me wants to suggest the Wheel of Fortune, if only because of how much this seems to have relied on good luck and random chance. Lemme explain…
 
Thoughts:
I’ve been sitting on this prompt for a while, because I looked at it and thought “Who the hell do I ask for help on this one??” and then, this morning, help asked for ME.
As if by magic. >.>

That’s what I mean by “good luck and random chance”.
 
Turns out, a friend of a friend is getting her Life Coach certification, and needs to practice on people (for free!). So I asked my friend to put me in touch with her friend, and have since sent off a note asking if said friend can help me with some specifics around my Receptivity.
At this point, I have no idea whether this is going to go anywhere. I mean, I hope it does, and I’ve given my possible Life Coach as much information as I can without just running on at the mouth, and we’re going to have A Conversation to see if my Stuff can be molded into something that her school of coaching can help with.
 
Fingers crossed. (I may or may not update this to tell you all how it goes, if it goes. Again: Fingers crossed!)

New Year New You 2016: Week Eight – Shoulder to the Wheel

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: “What’s the hardest thing for you to do? What do you keep putting off? Do it now. Grit your teeth and push, baby. You’re making something beautiful, don’t stop now. Show the universe what kind of wonders you’re capable of this week.”
 
Tarot Card: Two of Cups.
Maybe it’s telling that I’m chosing a “feelings” card rather than a “passions” card for this entry. I almost wanted to choose the Six of Cups – for a lot of reasons, including the generocity & reunion aspects of it, but also the more bitter, painful aspects (naivete, being out of your depth) – but felt like that would be setting myself up for failure.
In the Wildwood deck, this card is “Attraction“, and sticks with a fairly traditional meaning for this card (which is sort of “The Lovers” Lite, if you want to put it that way). In the Osho Zen deck, on the other hand, it’s “Friendliness” (an image that calls up that “grow not in each other’s shadow” quote from The Prophet, at least for me), which is also accurate, but less typical (I find). Either way, this card tends to mean “starting over” – sometimes that means “starting over with someone new”, and other times it means “reconciliation” or a change in the way two(?) people relate to each other. I think it can sometimes mean “enfatuation” or “NRE” as well, but I’d need to look into it a little more. Regardless, it’s sometimes characterized as a “passive” card, or a card whose indications hinge a LOT on context which… feels appropriate for this week’s prompt.
 
Thoughts:
Way back in Week Two, I talked about how “It’s hard to think of ‘receiving’ as something I can initiate”. And it still is. (And I also kind of am falling down that whole Second Chakra Energy money-and-sex rabbit hole, even if I’ve mostly staved it off for the past while). I touched on this feeling in Week Three, as well, when I talked about how being “proactively receptive” would involve being both More Trusting and More Vulnerable (which worked out so well…), and now I’m here, and this week’s prompt is asking me to do the Hard Thing that I’ve been putting off.
 
The first time I looked at the Osho Zen depiction of the Queen of Cups (Receptivity), what I saw in her double-helix-stemmed lotus blossom body was the Chalace (Brittish Traditional Wiccan style, in case you missed the metaphor). I keep thinking about the message to Slow Down from back in early April, and about not being as in my body as I thought I was and, maybe it’s because of the afore-mentioned sex-and-money rabbit hole, but I kind of feel like the Hard Thing I’ve been putting off is sex, specifically bottoming in sexual situations. (It’s something I can do, and something that I can enjoy a LOT… but I’m also really out of practice, and the last few times I’ve tried it, things have not ended well. I’ve wound up clinging to my various partners asking them over and over “Are you safe? Are you okay?” – a dissociative Thing where it’s pretty easy to spot what I’m really asking. FML.
And I’m fucking tired of it!
 
So I did a Hard Thing the other night, and asked for something specific from someone specific. And the someone specific said Yes.
 
Which you’d think would have been it for the hard part, but you would be wrong!
Turns out, there’s a whole other Hard Part that I didn’t even know was there!
 
So. Working this out:
Brené Brown writes (in The Gifts of Imperfection, iirc) that Joy is one of the most vulnerable feelings out there, and that because of this, people (i.e.: ME) are quick to numb out joy with things like Preemptive Tragedy or by setting up a permanent campsite in the Slaugh of Despond (perpetual, pre-emptive disappointment).
 
Slogging through the internal landscape of what I think I am, and am not, Supposed To feel – I’m not supposed to want things OR I’m supposed to “want things” but only in-so-far as I’m able to psychically predict what other people want to me to want, which I an then present to them like it was all my idea OR Wanting specific things is greedy, and makes you a burden/bother, and you should know better than to be like that OR You can WANT things all you like, but actually ASKING for them is heaping social pressure on someone else to do what you want, whether they want to or not, so you might as well just tattoo “rapist” on your forehead and get it over with, you horrible, horrible, self-centred, demanding jerk… You get the idea. Slogging through that stuff is hard. Getting the words out of my mouth is hard. But, for me at least (and in a situation where there was at least a 50% chance of getting a Yes in the first place), it was even harder to get through what came after.
 
The Hard Thing, it turns out, is stopping myself from slamming my own fist down on hope and joy by telling myself All The Stories – stories like “They’re just saying yes to be ‘nice’ to you, they don’t really want to do this and you should just let them off the hook before you screw this up even worse” OR “Okay, you’ve asked, and they’ve said yes. Now what happens if you freeze up and reneg on the deal? What happens then, huh? You’ll have Led Them On and then Let Them Down, that’s what! Maybe you should just call the whole thing off before you screw this up even worse”.
 
The hard part is staying open, and it took recognizing the feeling as one I’d had before (over a year ago actually, back when C first said they were interested in me and I spent a train-ride home from Toronto wanting to sob my eyes out because I was so full of hope that was trying so hard to turn into despair) for me to figure out what was happening.
Maybe if (when?) I feel that feeling again, I’ll be able to recognize it and tell myself: “Wait! This isn’t something that you have to squash! Stay hopeful! Stay open! This is already going somewhere good!”
 
Staying open felt like being filled up to overflowing (with something really positive), feeling a little overwhelmed and like I needed to dial things back or else Something Would Go Wrong… But it didn’t, in and of itself, feel bad. And staying emotionally open had some er… pleasant side-effects on the physical front? Yay? 🙂
 
I think that feeling – brim-full and possibly overflowing, but able to accept that more is coming – is the Queen of Cups Feeling.
 
I read something in Healing Sex (which I’d forgotten I’d bought years ago and in-which I’d already made a bunch of notes) the other day, about how as you push through barriers, you are going to feel all the uncomfortable, crappy feelings all over again, and you’re going to have to figure out which of those uncomfortable (emotional and/or phsyical) sensations are crappy-and-triggering because you don’t like them, versus which ones are uncomfortable but actually okay (like: If you try to stop yourself from getting turned on because of bad experiences or feelings around getting turned on during a Bad Situation, it’s okay to continue with a Good Situation, even if you are trying not to get turned on, and you might be able to let yourself get turned on in those Good Situations eventually). This reminds me a little of that.
 
Learning (or remembering?) how to discern which Intense Feelings mean “stop” versus which ones mean “keep going”, rather than treating all of them as “This is Too Intense! ACK!” is… kind of a big deal? I feel kind of like I’ve had a penny-drop moment, albeit probably one that’s going to involve a lot of practicing before it becomes something I can do without having to talk myself thorugh it on a concious level. (Although talking myself through “stay hopeful, stay open” in the emotional sense is actually a mega-tonne easier than talking myself through “stay in your body, don’t over-think everything” in the physical sense has ever, ever been, possibly for obivous reasons).
 
I have a chunk of rose quartz tucked into my bra, near my heart. I have Plans for this, but one of them is a little bit of self-glamoury to keep some love-for-me close at hand when I need it.
Touching on the Two of Cups again, the Mary-El version, as Beth Maiden puts it, depicts the “[…J]oy of emotional connection, the sublimity of blending energies[…]”. Of offering and accepting and receiving and offering back; of feeding each other.
I want to do this with my partner(s).
I want to build on this and keep opening.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad.

New Year New You 2016: Week Seven – Glamour and You

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: “Think about how you’re presenting yourself to the world and how that’s affecting your own personal goals. […] Give your physicals selves some love and magic this week!”
 
Tarot Card: Seven of Swords. Both the Wildwood and the Osho Zen decks are applicable in this case.
 
Thoughts:
I’ve never known the seven of swords to be a positive card. Even when the interpretation is a good idea (It’s time to take the mask off! It’s okay to stop maintaining and fall apart right now. I know you’re worried about What People Will Think, but you really are Enough in spite of those fears), the actual process of showing people one’s Real Face can be terrifying (and can sometimes backfire). Yet, sometimes, what it points to (e.g.: in a reversed position) is the need to break old habits, break silences, break out of self-imposed prisons of Shoulds and Musts.
I was yacking with a friend about this a few months ago, and it seems to fit here pretty well: A lot of us learn to keep ourselves small as a defence tactic. If you are a woman on the internet (even a white, cis woman such as myself), you learn pretty early how many readers it takes to start getting unwanted, threatening attention from trolls. If you’re a woman who ever leaves her home, the same goes for when you’re walking downt he street.
There’s a zillion people (of a very specific gender, most of the time) who would love to police us back into silence and invisibility, and a lot of us balance on a thread between “too visible” and “straight-up hiding”.
The thought of being Visible, of being Big, can be really frightening, whether we’re worried about being attacked by trolls, cat-callers, or The Fraud Police, and it can be exhausting to deal with.
 
Presenting yourself in a way that shows you in your best light, as your best self, can be exhausting.
 
I went to a book launch a couple of weekends ago. I went to the Gorgeous House in the Country (a luxury home built inside a reclaimed barn – for real. I want to live there when I grow up) book launch of a femme-lookin’ (I say, because I don’t actually know if she’d ID as femme) lesbian writer’s new novel. Her sculptor-painter partner was decked out in a Nice Suit at the merch table, and she was all dolled up in a shiny gold blouse signing everyone’s new books. My wife and her other partner (through-whom we know this couple) both talked about feeling out of place at the party. Even though, as creative dykes in the 40-75 age bracket, they were even more among their peers than I was.
But I swanned in there like I owned the place, because I’m a queer femme writer (in a raspberry faux-fur 3/4-sleeve coat, a leopard-print skirt, fancy stockings – that the woman who turned-out-to-be-a-publisher noticed and complimented me on, no less – huge, diva sunglasses and hot pink lipstick… I was flagging pretty hard, kids) so how could I not fit in?
… And it worked.
 
I mean, right up until I found out that the nice queer-poetry-chick I’d been politely down-playing my writing work to (my wife had been chatting her up, but I hadn’t wanted to hog the spot-light while talking to another writer who probably wanted to talk up her projects as well) was, um… the publisher of our friend’s novel.
Oh.
That was supposed to be an elevator pitch, was it?
Woops.
 
We’ll see what, if anything, comes of that interaction, but it was an introduction regardless.
 
A while back, I wrote a little bit about how Glamour is feeling hard right now. We’re in “transitional shoes season” in these parts, the point in the year where you really do still need close-toed shoes, but winter boots are definitely too warm (and clumpy) to deal with anymore. My “tranisitional” boots are all in a bad state of disrepair and, while I can and do make them work, they’re bad enough that it’s hard to make them look “street chic” (or whatever you want to call it when fancy fashion starts riffing on a ratty punk look) at this point. I’d love to get (or more likely make – this is one of the reasons I keep a shoe-maker on staff, after all) a few pairs of shoes like this so that I have Options that won’t wreck my back and can look “professional” (in the office work sense of the word) while also looking artsy-funky-weirdo (I.E.: actually like myself) at the same time.
 
But the reality is that this isn’t really about shoes. It’s about how I feel about myself.
When I regret the haircut I gave myself (even though I now look great with my hair down), but I can’t tell how much of that regret is because I feel like a total grease-ball when my hair is hanging in my face, vs how much is because I miss having the option of doing funky anime buns and being able to do this without too much trouble, vs how much is just missing that which is easy and familiar… What do I even do with that? But when I catch myself feeling “frumpy” in a skirt I picked out, gleefully, from the clothing swap heap because it would finally let me wear leopard print on something other than lingerie, that I stitched a new lining into and replaced the zipper on because I had wanted a skirt like this for so long… That’s a bad sign, folks.
 
If my personal goal, my Queen of Cups Project, is to be more receptive to all the Good Things that come my way, I need to believe that I’m worthy of receiving that stuff. Feeling ugly[1], unworthy of notice, or unable to keep it together (says the chick who discovered she’d spilled… hollondaise sauce?… on her skirt mid-way through her work-day and is expecting Company tonight while still having an entire kitchen full of dirty dishes to deal with)… does not inspire feelings of worthiness in me about myself.
 
So. How am I handling this week’s prompt?
Well, my office-contract recently ended. So I’m back in the land of “wear whatever you want” (hurrah!) and I’m aiming for a mix of “ultra casual” (like, skirts made out of former-pairs-of-pants, very colourful socks) and “Fabulous Bohemian” (diva sunglasses, faux fur 3/4 sleeve coat, Fierce hair-do – or lack of ‘do, since it basically means just leaving it down – and cute boots). I finally shaved my legs. A friend painted my toenails yesterday. I’m feeling pretty good, even if my heart is still yoyo-ing up and down and my feelings of self-worth are following suit on a rollercoaster of their own.
 
Things I can do (concrete/mundane things I can do) to show my physical self some love (this week, and all weeks) that will also (probably) help my mood and energy levels:
1) Get dolled up and go for a walk
2) Sit in the steam room of the local pool while wearing my bikini and soaking up the heat
3) Eat fancy pastries, ideally with friends (but this is not a requirement), while out and about
… So, basically, dress spiffy and get out of the house.
I can do that.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Say what you want about The Beauty Myth, it’s insidious and fuck.

New Year New You 2016: Week Six – Maps (Wait, They Don’t Love You Like I Love You)

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: “[G]o some place that is sacred to you and to use the experience to guide you in your work[…]”
 
Tarot Card: Ten of Cups + Knight of Earth (specifically the one from my Osho Zen deck, called “Slowing Down“, though the Wildwood’s Knight of Stones has some personal relevance as well).
 
Thoughts:
So, it’s been over two months since I did the previous prompt for the NYNY Experiment. Put that down to trying to regain some equilibrium after waiting to see how the cards would fall out.
Ha. On that note: Trying to do tarot readings when you have exactly one thing on your mind? Is simultaneously devastatingly accurate (whether you like it or not), AND massively annoying because you can’t get information on anything else.
Eugh.
 
But I’m back!
 
So. Most of my sacred places are inside my home. They’re my kitchen, my altar, my garden, my couch and my tiny dining table (especially when I’ve got people over who I can feed). But I’ve been feeling weirdly (or maybe not-so-weridly, what with Winter’s Last Hurrah having hit but a few days ago[1]) stuck when inside my home of late, so I was hesitant to try and trance out while chopping beets in the kitchen (for example – though it works quite well with apples, as long as you don’t lop off a finger in the process). All that being said, I did keep my eyes and ears open to see what would pop up and… I got something. I wrote about it a little bit in my most recent lunar post, but the majority of this message came, not from my home-base, but from my extended leather family at Queering Power.
 
The message was: SLOW DOWN!
 
Not “slow down” in the frantic, you-are-about-to-drive-off-a-cliff sense of the word, but “Slow Down” in the sense of:
When you are Triggered (yes, I’m talking about PTSD), everything starts to rush.
When you’re drowning in shame, you run around like a chicken with your head cut off, trying to “justify your existence”, when you need no justification, you just need to BE.
When you are in that spiral of “I am Too Much” (too demanding, too slow, too needy, too big, too complicated… you name it), you tell yourself that you must rush through things for the benefit of someone else – don’t tell the whole story, don’t savour that meal, don’t sink into exactly as long as it takes you to get turned on, get into it, get off – instead of being really present, really authentic, really enjoying life’s pleasures.
When you are freaking out and trying to numb yourself, you rush through experiences without really experiencing them – eat a chocolate without even tasting it, skim a poem and feel frustrated by the (unfindable, in this state) meaning you didn’t give yourself time to catch.
When you are frantic, you make decisions that hurt people you care for, and also that hurt yourself (whether you are able to care for yourself in those moments or not).
 
So that’s the big one.
The thing is, it’s not the only one.
Possibly because all the Brene Brown I’ve been reading has been bringing home what Glamour is really about (not what I would have expected), and possibly because Glamour has been feeling kind of hard for me lately, I’ve caught myself thinking a lot about Miss Sugar’s Glamour Pop Quiz questions, particularly the one about What You Really, Really Want, and… what I really want, when I think about it – what this whole Queen of Cups project is supposed to allow me to access – is this. Nothing more, and nothing less, than the Happiness & Home embodied by the Ten of Cups.
 
When it first came to me, I sneared.
 
Really, Meliad? Happiness?? Is that all?
 
Shouldn’t I have been more ambitious? Isn’t wanting a steady, caring home, and a big, queer, chosen family to love and be loved by… isn’t that Not Much At All?
And then I thought: Am I greedy, to want so much? Is it too much to ask that my heart overflow with love and joy instead of sadness and yearning?
 
And then I had a dream.
I dreamed a house that was a weird combination of the house I once owned, a house I didn’t rent when I was in my 20s, the trailer-park home of a friend’s mom near Quebec City where I was made so welcome, the imagined architectural layout of The Cloud Club[2], my ex-partner’s apartment, and the second-floor walk-up of the Toronto friends who played host to me at the end of March and who have a huge, old, fruitful pear tree growing next to their balcony.
I dreamed this house, with the backyard I have now, and the neighbours I have now, except that the hella-gardening Vietnamese lady now looked suspiciously like Shine Louise Houston[3].
I dreamed this house with potted plants outside the balcony door, and garden ready to grow its next season of fruits and veggies. I dreamed my wife and I joking together while getting the balcony in shape. I dreamed C holed up in a messy nest of a room, healing and feeling safe and still part of my heart’s family. I dreamed a friend of my neighbour (she looked like Snow White, if Snow White had the kind of hips and ass normally associated with Fertility Goddesses and the kind of asymetrical bob currently associated with queers of a whole slew of genders) flirting with me, calling me “Hey femme,” and telling me she liked my legs.
I dreamed love and hope. I dreamed relationships that last. I dreamed joy in ordinary moments. I dreamed fruitfulness and abundance and having Enough, feeling Enough. Not Hungry. And not Overwhelming.
I woke up and knew that this was plenty “good enough” to be a Great Work. I woke up and knew it was not Too Much to ask.
 
~*~
 
So thats what my sacred spaces have had to tell me.
Onwards and upwards, campers!
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Today, on the other hand, the sun is out, the snow is pretty-much GONE, the crocuses are blooming, and the leaves are starting to stretch and open up. My rhubarb survived the winter! (At least one did – we’ll see about the other two, which got planted waaaaaaaaay later and may not have got themselves established before the cold hit for real). So things are looking up. 🙂
 
[2] Where Amanda Palmer lives, fyi.
 
[3] Yes, the Shine who runs Pink and White Productions.

Full Moon – Ice Moon Crests

The past few days, it’s been warm enough that it rained (rained!) for two days straight, and walking anywhere required rubber boots and careful navigation over icy sidewalks – and roads – covered in four inches of cold water. The temperature dropped overnight, and the sidewalks were thick with (thankfully-rough-and-choppy) ice this morning. Ice Moon, indeed.
Outside, a flock of starlings are eating the offering bread I put out a week ago. Inside, the house looks a bit like it exploded (we emptied our storage locker, but all that means is that the various boxes and other Things that we’d kept outside of the house are now stacked in my front room and partialy unpacked). This past week, I’ve been (avoiding further unpacking by) reading a lot of Brené Brown. You know, the TED Talk woman who researches shame and vulnerability? Her stuff. Like, all of her stuff. It’s astonishing how much what she’s saying about vulnerability relates to what Miss Sugar says about how glamour works. The courage to show up and be seen.
It’s blowing my little mind, I tell you.
 
At the beginning of this lunar cycle, I asked myself:
What do I need to firm up?
Where do I need more flow?

 
I… have no idea.
Sometimes, when I write my lunar cycle posts, I try to come up with questions to get me (and anyone else who feels like it) thinking along lines that are thematically related to the time of year. In another six weeks, I’ll be asking myself (here or elsewhere) what needs to be cleaned out of my literal and metaphorical pantries to make room for newer, fresher things to come.
 
As far as “flow” goes… I’m sticking with those self-help books I picked up and recognizing that I’m going to have to get… used to, if not comfortable with, uncertainty. That’s flow. Needing to be able to roll with sudden changes-of-plan without taking 24 hours to freak right out about it before that can happen. That’s flow. That’s the Ace of Water and the Two of Earth. Figuring it out, moment to moment, and being willing to go with the flow rather than panicking (and potentially drowning because of it).
 
As far as firming things up go… What am I committing to? Like, really, not just lip-service. Part of why I’m reading the entire Brené Brown oeuvre right now is because all that “daring greatly” and “rising strong” stuff is pretty relevant to my Queen of Cups Project (still going, even if it’s taken a bit of a detour in terms of keeping up with my NYNY posts). And part of it is because it’s relelvant to a couple of books I want to write. I’m taking another stab at The Novel, and I’m working on the outline and content (and research) for a Relationships Book for polyamourous folks. So what I’m committing to, other than getting my own head-and-heart in slightly more reliable working order, is getting back in the saddle for Draft WhateverTheFuck of my novel (maybe I’ll actually get it all the way done this time?) and sorting out the preliminaries for the Relationships Book.
 
Something from The Gifts of Imperfection is the idea (or data-based argument, or whatever) that in order to be open to joy, you have to practice gratitude, and that – kind of the same way that trying to see someone else’s PoV by practicing empathy will also help you to be less afraid of them and less ashamed of (yourself for) the fear that is starting to quiet down – focusing on something (related to the Scary Thing) that you are greatful for can help make Vulnerable Moments feel less like something you have to flight/fight/freeze about and more like something you can lean into and deal with (hopefully) without screwing it up. So, I’m poking at this, at Miss Sugar’s Glad Game, at my friend Talia’s “two good things for today” practice, and other stuff that various people in my life do to refocus on what’s going well and making them happy in their lives. So here’s mine (WHY YES, IT’S TOTALLY AN ACRONYM, BECAUSE I’M LIKE THAT SOMETIMES):
 
Motion: I modeled today (which is sort of the opposite of motion, but is definitely engaging with my body), and then walked home (about an hour, into some seriously bitter winds for the last 15 minutes or so). Glad to be warm and inside!
Attention: I’m thinking a LOT about (go figure) shame and vulnerability, how all those FEELINGS that I’d been understanding as anxiety might actually have been “shame storms”, and how… that explains things a little more fully. It’s another piece of the puzzle of my own brain, at any rate.
Gratitude: My awesome wife got my Walking Wheel working last night. She made me a spindle (that you could totally gash yourself on, if you’re not careful – Sleeping Beauty may have been a cautionary tale about running in the house…) and fixed the accelerating head. It looks fantastic, and it works – even if it does take two of us to work it right now (I don’t really know how to do this yet…). Excited to practice and get things up to speed, though I suspect there will be a significant learning curve involved.
Inspiration: Inspired by how narrative is built into our DNA, and (finally) learning what “Act Two” in a story is actually for. (This is what has given me the go-ahead to pick up the novel again – I know what needs to underpin the stuff that’s happening and the decisions my MC is making. Woohoo!!!)
Creation: Books, yes. However slowly. And wheel-spun yarn, ditto, however slowly. But right now I’m in the middle of (and excited about) knitting a shrug (in the round), and using new (to me) stitch patterns to do it. I love the way the texture of the fabric changes depending on the stitches you use (knitting in the round looks very different from knit-one-direction-perl-back-the-other-way, and I find it just fascinating… I’m easily ammused. 😉 )

New Year New You 2016: Week Five – Some Enchanted Evening

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 some magical thing(s) to further your cause and give you an edge towards achieving your Goal(s).
 
Tarot Card: The Priestess (Inner Voice, The Seer) – looking inward, going deeper, mediating between the concious and unconcious, self-confidence, seaking internal calm.
 
Thoughts:
Okay.
So I’ve had a bit of a shock thrown into my (life) plans recently. My long-distance partner is… not my partner anymore. At least not for the moment. We’re “on a break” for reasons that I understand, even if I’m not happy about the situation or its effects on me.
Part of me is all “I totally get it, take the time you need.”
Part of me is all “Augh! Come baaaaaaaaaaaaack!”
And part of me is just all “Eugh. Whatever. You do you. I’ll survive.”
It’s not a fun place to be, and it does add a certain bleak nuance of “Why am I trying so hard to Fix The Problems that I’m trying to fix with this project if I’m no-longer in a situation where those Problems are actually causing Big Waves in important parts of my life??”
Which is a problem in and of itself, I know.
Why don’t I care about myself enough to just get to Happy for my own benefit, rather than it having to involve someone else’s comfort with me before I’m willing to Do The Work that will make my life better regardless?
It’s stupid and frustrating and it means that part of this Getting To project is getting a bit of a facelift.
 
Originally, I was going to do my Enchanted Evening spell by putting a glamour wammy on my bathroom and dressing-room mirrors so that, every time I looked at my own reflection, I was also seeing someone worthy of love and care, in the hopes that it would make it easier for me to pick up on the love and care (and other good stuff) being directed at me from all and sundry[1].
I’m still going to do that.
BUT.
… But the whole situation with the Queen Of Cups is that she doesn’t have to use logic to walk her heart through every damn thing. She’s emotionally healthy,and emotionally secure, enough that she is both trust-worthy and trustING in ways that don’t feel like jumping off a cliff (to use Leah Lakshmi’s very apt turn of phrase) and crossing my fingers that someone is going to catch me before I hit the rocks.
Which means I’ve got other Stuff I need to work on as well.
 
So what I did this morning was steap myself a cup of thyme tea and charge it with the prayer of “Open my heart, help me to trust the trustworthy, heal me”.
Tea because: Probably a safer bet than putting drops of pure thyme essential oil directly onto my tongue. But also tea because it has links to awareness, faithfulness, and enlightenment.
I chose Thyme because it corresponds to courage, hope, happiness, purification, healing, strength, the washing away of fear.
Other herbs I can use in similar ways:
Chamomile, lavender, and dill to calm the frightened child in me
Sweet Violet (I’m reading this as the edible flowers of wood violets that grow in my yard – and all over the place) for trust, peace, and strengthening the comfort of the heart
 
As for the glamour wammy on my mirror, I’m thinking it’ll be a cleansing spray that just happens to include a mix of rosemary, sweet orange, and ginger essential oils (plus witch hazel & water for a carrier).
 
Other possibilities for scrubbing away:
A Body Scrub to sluff away all the Negativity that’s been hovering around me ft brown sugar, sweet almond oil, baking soda, rosemary, clove, cedar, tea tree
AND
A Bath Powder to draw confidence, self-assurance, courage and calm ft ylang ylang, ginger, clove, myrrh(!), and sweet orange
 
I find it… veeeeeery interesting… that a LOT of the essential oils that one would use for drawing love, sex, & happy-solid romances into one’s life (and dispelling/preventing jealousy, no less) are also stuff that one would use to increase confidence, courage & self-assurance, while calming your ass down & dispelling fear and depression.
I mean, part of that is just: people use what they’ve got. If you’re a Strega with a rosemary bush the size of your house (or… me… with a cupboard full of pie spices and dried fruit), that stuff is going to find its way into every spell you do.
On the other hand… the two tend to benefit one-another, in my experience, so maybe it’s not that strange.
 
Lastly – though not remotely surprisingly -I’ve been doing a LOT of tarot readings for myself on the question of “How do I get to Happy?” (the Fool Spread is really handy for that kind of question) and the details of making those internal changes in ways that will actually stick and not turn me into more of a wreck in the process.
They’re turning up some… unsurprising but also pretty accurate information, which is a help in terms of things I need to remind myself of like: This is going to be a bit of a slog, so you will have to be patient with yourself. Be brave but not with without compassion for yourself. Push yourself, because it’s going to be hard and you will have to keep leaning into that discomfort, but don’t burn yourself out. Learn from your mistakes, but also forgive yourself and be gentle with yourself at the same time.
 
Wish me luck.
Up next: Fancying up my mirrors and taking a solid soak. Here’s hoping it works.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] So that I could recognize that kind words from a friend are actually meant and true, to pick a non-Faaaaaaaaaamily-related example, and so that (to pick another, even less-socially-fraught one) I could stop interpreting a lack of calls from temp agents as some sort of deliberate punishment for not being available That One Time, or for saying No to that thing I didn’t want to do. So that I can just sit with the quiet (as opposed to the Silence, as in Silent Treatment) of a non-ringing phone without believing in my bones that it’s a commentary on whether or not I’m worthy of someone having my back or looking out for me.