Tag Archives: Week 8

New Year New You 2018 – Week 8 (Asking For Help)

I’m (once again) doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. It’s a good mix of practical, magical, and thought-based exercises to help accomplish specific and significant change in your own life. If it’s relevant to your interests, give it a try!
 
Instructions: This week’s prompt is about asking someone for help. Most of us hate that shit with a hating that fires a thousand suns. Asking for help feels almost like admitting defeat. And by defeat, I mean admitting that you’re not invincible. Well. You’re not. Sorry.
 
Tarot Card: Honestly, this could be any – or maybe all – of the Fours.
 

The minor arcana Fours
Crystal Visions Tarot
“Four is the number of stability, the home, the physical realm, organisation, security, limitations and mercy.”


 
All the fours relate to both The Emperor (tradition, personal power, structure) and Temperance (balance, team work, moderation in all things). They’re also the first “plateau” in the climb from two to ten through the each suit.
I find that they pertain to the hopes and fears we have around trusting and working with other people. (Granted, I also think the sixes are about this, so maybe I’m just projecting here).
The four of fire is about participation and being an active part of A Group. The four of earth is the fear that nobody will have your back when you need it. The four of air is pulling away, or taking a step back, in order to prepare to re-enter a social (but not necessarily friendly) milieu. And the four of water… The four of water has one interpretation that I think fits this theme very well: Just take the fucking cup.
 
There is a well-worn, and more than a little frustrating, pathway in my head that goes: When I’m freaking out about something (which is often), I literally forget that people will help me.
Like, I have to stop myself and walk my brain through a multi-step process to get myself out of the head-space that truly believes “I don’t have friends” and back to something that more closely resembles reality.
So, when it comes to this particular writing/action prompt, I’m trying to recognize and accept the fucking cup more reliably when it’s offered to me.
 
When someone invited me to participate in a flash performance at a local poetry show? I said yes.
When a local author offered me a paid gig reading tarot for teens this Fall? I said yes.
When I got hit with a shitty summer cold and my wife said “Stay in bed and rest!”… I said yes (though I don’t think I could have done otherwise), rather than feeling guilty about not making my own sandwiches.
When a friend offered to cover the difference between missing and making last month’s rent payment? I said yes.
When a temp-job contact told me about a mat-leave reception contract in the same close-to-me office building and offered to put me in touch with the appropriate people? I said yes. (This was literally yesterday, and I’ve been having The Anxiety about it ever since, but I still said yes).
 
There was a time when accepting gifts/support from people – letting my girlfriend pay for dinner, for example, or believing someone when they say they want to hang out with me instead of assuming some kind of ulterior motive – felt fraught with danger and was fraught with shame. And certainly some of it still is, though being broke for eight straight years has definitely, uh, “helped” with that. I may still have difficulties around believing it when my partner(s) tell me I’m awesome, but if they offer to make me a sandwich, I am there!
 
Anyway. So, for this prompt, I had a look back at my goals for this project. Some of them (like putting my creative stuff out into the world by sending out poetry submissions, reading at open mics, and saying yes to participating in group performances) is going just fine. Some of it (like letting go of detrimental behaviours or opening up to relationships/behaviours/activities that are good for me) is… not so much.
There’s a lot of (ineffective) self-protective “don’t wanna” going on, and a fair bit of, I dunno, “The danger you know is better than the danger you don’t” in terms of how I interact with people. Like “Sure, I know that hiding my feelings because I think they’re stupid is… detrimental. But at least I know that, right? At least I know I’m putting my hand in a blender and can maybe mitigate/prepare-for some of the damages? Whereas if I do something different, there could be unexpected surprise blenders just appearing around my fingers, and then what would I do??”
It’s dumb.
I know it’s dumb.
So… One thing I am doing marginally more consistently is, as per her request, letting my wife know about what’s going on in my head. Like, if I’m getting all wound up because: Anxiety, I’ll actually tell her about it. Which I’m finding (and it feels really weird to discover this, even though it’s maybe not that surprising)… it helps. Really? Really.
And the combination of (a) showing my Crazy, if I can even call it that, and (b) having someone validate that weird collection of feelings, is kind of helping on the front of these two goals:

I want to recognize and know-in-my-bones that my “scary side” isn’t actually scary to people who are good for me.
I want to recognize and know-in-my-bones that all of me is worthy of love and belonging BY/WITH people who are good for me.

 
So, asking for help? Not exactly.
But accepting help when it’s offered, trusting that those offers are sincere and that I won’t be humiliated and/or abandoned while risking being vulnerable…? Yeah. I’m giving that a try.

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.

High Stakes Magical Gambling

Asking for Help. That’s the theme of Miss Sugar’s latest NYNY writing prompt.

That’s a funny one for me. My SO is the other half of my D/s dynamic. Her being my help-meet and general-dogs-body is built into our relationship. (We actually spent a chunk of yesterday having a Big Relationship Discussion about that, as it’s our 2-year dynamiversary and all – go us).

But that’s not what I’m going to talk about here.

I’m going to talk about… my realtionship to encouragement, actually. There’s a line in my head where someone going “you can totally do this!” goes from feeling like encouragement to feeling like someone is demanding that I step desperately and radically far outside of my comfortable-and-compentant zone under seriously high-stakes circumstances.

And, at that point, I basically want to curl up in a ball and make All The Things go away.

Which does nothing.

The whole point of this Radical Magical Transformation experiment is to do just that. To fight dirty, as Gordon puts it, and to stop being in denial about how high the stake really are when you’re doing it.

So here’s my confession. Denying how high those stakes are? That’s how I get myself to do any of this stuff. My sweetie and I were talking about Things I Can Do from an arts-and-kink-for-income PoV, and my girl was overflowing with encouragement and suggestions for workshops I could run for youth-and-poetry, erotic poetry and/or prose, 24/7 D/s, sharps play, and all sorts of other things[1]. Which is great, but it’s also… It’s also me going “No, see, if I do any of this stuff when there’s money on the line[2], the (increased) risks invovled literally paralyze me into inaction!”

Which, y’know, totally isn’t her problem to deal with.
I’m aware of that.

Moving along: What does this have to do with Miss Sugar’s injunction to Ask For Help?
It means applying for grants – for my poetry show, but also for me (if I qualify).
It means sucking it up and making an indigogo campaign for my poetry show that would, if successful, let us pay 1/4 of our artists Rate without having to rely on grants (or, if the grants don’t come through at all, it would allow us to pay ALL of our poets a small honourarium – $50/show – and still have a little bit left over to cover off some of our venue fees).
It means getting in touch with the chicky who runs the pansexual play-parties in town and finding out where she host them, so that I can get on with booking a venue for Spring Fling.

But it also means helping myself. By breaking down all those scary-but-probably-doable suggestions into non-threatening bite-sized tasks that I can do until I get to a point where I can try my hand at pitching a workshop idea or similar and actually feel competent about doing so.
Magically speaking, this might include things like creating some kind of a “come to me” perfume oil that has specific components for luck, money, and charisma. Or similar. Or running myself a magical bath involving components for confidence, courage, and empowerment.

So least that’s where I’m at right now.

Onwards! 😀

TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] … That I don’t remember because around that point I basically put on my mental headphones and went “LALALALALALALALALALA!” until I could move to different area of the house and get my breath back. Cowardly, I know, but that’s totally what I did.

[2] When I’m renting a venue, making a Lovely Parting Gift, or when my own livelihood and/or the continued financial survival of my poetry show, are going to be effected by whether or not any of these new Things To Try succeed.

Shoulder to the Grindstone [New Year, New You]

So, further to Miss Sugar’s latest prompt, I finally got off my ass (or onto it, as the case may be) and designed some freaking business cards. I decided to take my friend’s recommendation and go with vistaprint, as they’ll do 250 cards for you for free in exchange for logo space on the back of the card. And free is a lot less expensive (and less work) than DIY on my home printer.
I’m pleased with the design I went with, and I’ve made a point of mentioning “handfasting” and “commitment ceremony” on them. I’ve also started yet another blog (since wordpress is free, I like to write, and Web Presence Is Important).

My business cards should arrive in two weeks. More than enough time to have them set out at the craft-and-business fair I’ll be working in mid-March.

Also on the singing front: I went to city hall yesterday, where they have an interactive sound-sculpture installation. The doors to the gallery were locked, so I stood outside and sang through the crack in the doors. I made the sculpture dance (to my tune, so to speak), and gathered quite the little crowd (it was opening day of Winterlude here – you should have seen everybody with their embroidered mittens and fur hats and general winter-wear finery) in the process.
Go me. 🙂

Anyway. It’s after 11pm, so I’m going to head to bed. Tomorrow is soap-making, singing, and working on what might be the beginnings of a new story.

TTFN,
Meliad the birch Maiden.