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Adding meditation to my life

Adding meditation to my life

There are a million articles about there telling you about the power of meditation. There are a million articles telling you all the right reasons to do it. There are a million articles telling you all the different types of meditation (and a million apps to help you with that, too).

There are far fewer articles, I find, talking about how it feels to meditate regularly. I don’t understand why not. In my experience, it’s a whole lot easier to do something you “should” do, that’s “good” for you, when you also enjoy the activity.

So here’s my post about adding meditation to my life.

I’ve considered meditating daily off and on over the past few years, but I’ve never tried as much as I could. It took me a long time to get past feeling like a failure because I didn’t do it perfectly that first time I tried. Or the second time. Or the third time. It’s HARD to trick your brain past “I didn’t do this right, I can’t really do it.” But between depression and anxiety, I’m having a lot of practice tricking my brain into better patterns, and a lot of support in doing that.

This time, when I decided I wanted to start meditating daily, I gave myself a few guidelines:

  • Experiment with different types of meditation every day. Do I want a guided meditation? (I highly recommend the buddhify app if you’re looking for guided meditations for every situation!) Do I just want to listen to soft rain for five minutes? What about bells and instrumental music? How about staring at a candle in silence? So far, I haven’t tried silence, because it seems a lot harder for me, but I like mixing up guided meditations with listening to soft sounds and doing my own meditation.
  • Would it help to have a buddy to check in with it every day? YES! I asked a good friend to help check up on me every day, someone who also is interested in trying to meditate every day. It has been excellent encouragement to both check in on a dear friend and keep myself mindful of whether or not I’ve practiced today.
  • My most important guideline: I am practicing. If I miss a day, all right, try again tomorrow. If I spent a whole five minutes wrestling my thoughts to shoo so I could focus on my breathing, that’s okay, because I am practicing. That’s a great trick for my brain, that the phrase “daily practice” also connotes “practicing”, as in I don’t have to be perfect right now. I’m working on it, and that’s fine. Every day is a new time to pick myself up and try again.

I really am not good at doing this daily right now. Between anxiety toward doctors’ offices and my body being less-than-energetic, most of my week has been spent taking care of myself. But it’s okay, because it’s a practice. And the weirdest thing, the thing I never thought would happen, the thing that leaves me in awe?

When I actually make the time to meditate, I actually love doing it.

There you go. The big secret that all the how-to articles forget to tell you. Meditation is good for you, sure, whatever, but when all is said and done, I only want to do things if they make me feel good. And when I’m done meditating for a few minutes, I feel light. My brain has a chance to rest from the hamster wheel of anxiety, and I can feel the energy my body has worked up slowing down and grounding itself. Even after just five minutes, I feel better, more alert and energized and ready to tackle things. Less likely to get stuck in an anxiety-loop of feelings and annoying thoughts.

So I’m going to keep it. It’s not reasonable to expect myself to actually meditate every single day, but that is my goal. And it’s practice. When I get better at it, I’ll be able to do more with it. I’m looking forward to that, but I am also happy that just a little bit every day is making me feel good to be in my body.

What “good for you” things do you actively enjoy doing? Have you tried something that someone told you you “should” do and suddenly you love it, too? What are your thoughts on it?

Looking Forward 26 October 2015

Looking Forward 26 October 2015

Things I am working on:

  • Setting up a web development environment on my computer
  • Spending hours reading state laws and tax considerations
  • Playing with new accounting software to understand how things work

Okay, when I get obsessive, I get obsessive. But I always have to take a minute to step back and re-evaluate what I’m avoiding when I’m in moods like this. Am I putting something off? Did I tell someone I would do something and then completely forget about it? If I completely forgot about it, is it because it makes me anxious? Am I avoiding things?

Anxiety is a mental illness that makes my brain run down pathways that keep me from doing the things I need to be doing. So while I am glad I’ve done the things above, and there is definitely more that needs doing with the web development part, I knew today I had to stop for a minute and reset my brain. Running in circles does not make things easier, SJ.

What did I find when I forced my brain away from the drug of the new shiny projects? I still hadn’t sent an email to my care team that I’d meant to on Friday. I was really behind on some grassroots outreach I said I’d do. And I had completely forgotten about a project my dad sent me. These are the reasons learning how to manage my mental illnesses is so important. My brain likes to direct me to thoughts that keep me stuck in bad habits. So every few days I need to stop. Reset. And think about something else in my life and see what comes of that.

Do you get into habits too? Where you just keep going down that rabbit hole and don’t know how to pull yourself out? It’s hard not to, isn’t it? Let’s see what the Tarot says for the week, maybe through the lens of “reset your mind, back to basics”.

Three Halloween Tarot cards scattered face up over the face-down cards: Nine of Pumpkins, King of Bats, and Knight of Ghosts

Nine of Pumpkins

As the first card, the Nine of Pumpkins wants my focus: this lady of leisure knows how to enjoy the sensual parts of life. The message to me is that it’s time to take a break and remember the feel of earth beneath my feet, cooking delicious food, and re-orienting myself into the sensual. Get out of my head for a bit. My head can get over-analytical and run in loops. My kitchen could use a cleaning and I could use some baked goods, so focus on that a little more.

King of Bats

The King of Bats here emphasizes mastery over business and legal matters. I’ve done enough research in the last week while waiting for things to process. I have these matters handled, like the King of Bats. He supports the Nine of Pumpkins in the message that this time, I can relax and take care of myself for a bit instead.

Knight of Ghosts

I’ve seen the Knight of Cups a few times recently. In this spread, he’s not telling me to listen to the undercurrents of a situation and navigate the waters smoothly, he’s probably focusing more on the fact that I’ve been more introverted and introspective than usual lately. I’ve stopped talking to people with my obsession lately. That’s not how to keep my community going. I miss them, and I don’t know how to express that properly. So it’s time to bake some bread (Nine of Pumpkins!) and bring it over to a friend’s and talk about what’s going on with me.

I’ve been forgetting to do my one card draw the last few days (… or week) and these cards also want to remind me that I learn so much about myself and work on different perspectives when I take my cards out every day. So I had better make sure I do take out my cards tomorrow and work with them again!

Ouch, body. Why you gotta make things hard on me?

Ouch, body. Why you gotta make things hard on me?

I ignored some warning signs yesterday that I was working too hard, and today I’m paying the price. I struggled to wake up this morning, feeling pinned down by my dreaming, and once I did come to full consciousness, my body felt run over. My right arm was in serious pain last night, which I hoped wrist braces overnight would cure, but nope, still pain.

So, I better scale today back to the basics, even though yesterday I decided that the basics should have some more things. (More on that later!) Maybe I’ll get myself moving for half an hour as well, do some pilates, since I miss it a lot (and maybe that’ll put my arm back in order). Meditation, tea, food, trying not to use my right arm, and a little bit of Tarot: that’s what’s on tap for me today. Wishing I could work on all the back end things I’ve been working on, but that’s what I can do, and doing what you can do is extremely important.

Being human, stumbling, and keeping going

Being human, stumbling, and keeping going

I’m sitting at home near a candle that’s not burning as perfectly as I’d like and thinking about what I should be writing. I know I should be writing, because it calls to my soul. But what should I be writing? And do I have the confidence to write it?

I was emailing with my friend Libby over the weekend, wondering if I could ever write again. I wanted to, I have big feelings in my chest that need to get out, but how do I write? I’m not sure how to anymore. Libby said: just write. Free writing will take you where you need to be.

So here I sit, with some poetic music playing, and writing for everyone to see.

Over the past few years I’ve become really afraid of blogging publicly. So many blogs these days are written by the point of view of someone who has it figured out, whatever “it” is. I don’t. I feel scared and small, and if I start focusing on the things that scare me, I panic and the monsters get so much bigger than they really are. Then I’m paralyzed with fear.

Instead of focusing on the things that scare me, I’ve started ignoring them, and letting myself hold on to things that make me confident and proactive. That’s why I am researching so much about starting a business in my state (but waiting a day or two more to actually register). That’s why I forget to write here. Because I want to stick to safe topics, ones that I already know, because that’s what people do in the blogosphere these days.

That’s not who I am.

Who I am is a timid explorer, still trying to hold xyrself steady on xyr feet. My legs are shaky, my balance sucks, but I can still take the steps I need to to keep going. I might hide from the big truths for a while, but I am fascinated by them, and I want to grapple with new ideas and play with words. I don’t want to be the woman with the big truths. I want to be the fairy with the musical laugh, asking the right questions to provoke insights for others.

So I will stumble, and I will reach out, and I will try new things, and I will have faith in myself and the people around me. I will pay more attention to the journey than the destination.

I am a witchling in flight, and I dare you to uncover your own truth.

What’s next for me?

What’s next for me?

I’ve spent a lot of the day today asking myself, “What’s next?” I know what’s next in the health department, scheduling an appointment I’m extremely anxious about. (I’ll do it tomorrow with the help of a therapist.) For my grassroots team, what’s next is a long break, at least a month. (All winter if I get my way.) Now that I’ve spent all day yesterday in bed to recover from an extreme weekend, what do I do with the energy I have?

Sure, I have some cleaning that needs to be done, but what’s going to get me out of bed in the mornings? Like I’ve said, I’ve been asking myself this question all day, and it didn’t occur to me until just now to pull a Tarot card and see what it thinks.

So, without further ado…

XIII Death

An image of the Death card from the Halloween Tarot deck

This Death sure does love a party: a symbol of Halloween itself, a time to let things go for a bit while we make merry. Death is usually a card of big changes, and while I see some of that in this card, I also see setting aside some time to enjoy my achievements. To lie fallow for a few months, sip some tea, have some friends over to break bread, but to not push so hard that I break again.

Maybe part of that is what I want it to be for me, but it is interesting that Death showed up on the day that I’m really feeling the change of seasons and quietly freaking out that winter is on its way again. Maybe, with the veil between the worlds thinning, it’s a good time for me to look into some ancestor work. Maybe it’s time to reach out to spirits and the Otherworld. There are definitely a lot of things I could do with the Death card, but my restless spirit really needs to hear the “slow down and enjoy the fruits of your labor” part of it right now. Despite the pressures in our society to rush rush rush go go go and get things done NOW, I don’t do that well, and I hope to find a balance between (somehow) making enough money to live and not having to rush around.

Thanks, Halloween. Guess I’ll go and try to figure out how to make that work in my life!

Looking Forward 29 September 2015

Looking Forward 29 September 2015

Maaaaybe I’m moving this to Tuesday.

I needed a serious break yesterday! With all the mystical and spiritual things I got up to between Friday and Sunday, I was pretty tired—and I needed to catch up on some of my volunteer work. This week is the final week of comment collection for something I’ve been working on for four years, so I’m working on a final push for comments and social media rallying around the cause. Plus we’re hosting a great event on Monday night to celebrate the work we’ve done over the years, so I have to be available to work on the final details for that. It’s going to be quite a ride!

And, of course, I still haven’t made that one doctor’s appointment I’ve been meaning to amidst all the hustle and bustle. I’m striving toward balance, and not sure how well I’m doing it. Let’s see what the Tarot has to say for me this week.

(All of my cards have been soaking in the wonderful Blood Moon energy!)

IV The Emperor

The Emperor Tarot card from the Fey Tarot

King of his domain. Rules material matters. Associated with Aries, which rules the full moon this month. There are dominant, commanding people in store for us this week. And, he’s suggesting to me the victory with my volunteer work that I’m looking forward to at the end of the week!

VII The Chariot

The Chariot Tarot card from the Fey Tarot

The Chariot is reminding me that everything changes and the journey keeps going on, and that I am going to have to decide after Friday what my primary road is going to be. Do I keep working at the level I have been or do I back off a bit? It’s hard to back off, because there’s always so much out there to do, but sometimes necessary.

Ace of Pentacles

The Ace of Pentacles from the Fey Tarot deck

With the Ace of Pentacles as my last card, I know I have the ability to begin again. Aces are always at the start of a journey, and this is a journey toward making oneself comfortable at home. Maybe it even wants to remind us to take some time to meditate and ground ourselves in our daily lives. Maybe it also wants to remind us that we’re able to take care of ourselves with the skills we have now. Those skills will also help us down the path to financial security, so have confidence in them!

That’s all I got tonight. It’s starting to feel very autumn in my parts, and I’m looking forward to a cosy evening in with people who make me smile. Hope your week is starting off great!

There’s gonna be some changes made

There’s gonna be some changes made

There’s gonna be some changes made lyric from Bruce Hornsby’s “Gonna Be Some Changes Made”

The last week or two has been a time of monumental change and upheaval in a lot of people’s lives, including mine. It started with the super moon in Pisces and just kept on going. It was as if I didn’t stop and pay attention to the signals I was getting, well, the forces of the universe were going to crush the things that are most important to me to get me to listen.

One reason I like that article about the super moon best is this quote:

We are approaching the final four months of 2015—and it’s crucial that we enter into it as honestly and authentically as we can. This was promised to be a big year of change and revelation for all of us—right now is the time to evaluate how close we are to achieving the life that we envisioned when we rang in the New Year.

It woke me up to the fact that I’m being pushed to a way of life entirely in opposition to the “daily grind” and that this new way IS what’s best for me. I’m pagan, and we believe that there are many gods and many of them are active in our lives. Mine are leading me toward a future where I use the skills most important to me and honor myself and my needs.

This isn’t all about me, though. I’ve been encouraging a lot of people to follow the paths of change we’re being pushed toward.

As a friend said:

I talked a lot about the fact that the Earth is calling out her people because she needs us.

As I put it “people are too far up God’s ass and worrying about what other people can and can not do” and we’re destroying ourselves.

So the Universe “God” is calling into action those that will help each other and themselves.
We’re being called to our higher selves because we are needed.

If you’re also being called to change, welcome to the club! I’m having my own anxieties and self-doubts about being part of this change, but I guess I need to follow the right path for me. Fear and misgivings are only going to make my Gods notice and throw more upsetting curve balls at me, and I’m trying to avoid those at all costs. The curve ball last week devastated me. I’m trying to not give Them a reason to devastate me again.

Instead, I’ve been making an active decision to continue to trust my instincts and be okay with where I’m heading. I sometimes channel universal messages, and I’m hoping to work more with the Tarot to interpret the currents I sense. I’ve joked in the past that I’m an oracle, and my goal for the next few months is to work that intuition and psychic abilities to a point where I can help others stay on the right path: for themselves and for Mother Earth. We have a lot of work to do and I’m looking forward to starting.

And I dropped off the face of the earth again

And I dropped off the face of the earth again

My priorities the last couple of weeks (and the weeks coming up) are to get my health care in order so that I don’t crash and burn as often as I have over the last four years. Which means that I’ve spent a LOT of time resting and thinking, and having emotions, and freaking out, and oh yeah, having weird pain everywhere. (I’m afraid if I go to a doctor about my wrists, they’ll tell me to stay off the computer for a week. NOOOOOO!)

So today I am sharing a lot of the links I’ve been pondering.

  • This nail polish hits me right in the feels. It’s from a Doctor Who episode with a character with depression, and it reminds me so much of the pain and agony I’ve gone through. It’s fascinating to look at it through someone else’s eyes, someone who doesn’t understand it, because that’s the point of view you have in the episode. That’s how people don’t understand ME when I’m feeling the brain weasels. But I also know exactly what the depressed character is going through, because I’ve been there. It’s powerful.
  • So, did anyone else experience any fallout from the emotional apocalypse of the Super Full Moon in Pisces? It hit me extremely hard, messed with a couple of my relationships, but hopefully now I’m in a better place.
  • Why the strong, sharp suite of Swords reveal your strength and courage. I only recently realized how much the Swords are about cutting things apart and destroying things, since I haven’t done enough study of the Minor Arcana, and I identify with the Swords: as a symbol of the element of Air, they cut to the truth of the matter, like I do. So now it’s fascinating to work with the interpretation that the Swords are going to reveal harsh truths, but they will be necessary for you to keep going.
  • I’ve been attempting to do a lot more research into chronic illnesses that apply or may apply to me, thanks to this post on how self-diagnosis is vital. I never thought of it that way, but this post is one of my inspirations right now to keep fighting for my right to live mostly pain-free and with people understanding my conditions and how to care for me.
  • I can’t wait to dig in to the Dark Magic Books Library, a collection of books about magic, witchcraft, and all sorts of fun stuff, mostly in the public domain. I love reading about magic and witchcraft and I definitely need to finish some of the books I have so I can start in on it!

That’s it for now! I’ll be back on Monday, Labor Day, for a Looking Forward reading.

Asking the cards for guidance

Asking the cards for guidance

It’s been way too long since I’ve done a Looking Forward, but I’d like to draw three cards for guidance for the next few days. I’m transitioning back to “home” tomorrow, and gathering up all the tools I have for keeping me grounded and centered. So this is what I’m asking my Halloween Tarot: how to stay calm and collected during the next few days of transition.

Queen of Bats

The Queen of Bats in the Halloween Tarot

The last time I saw the Queen of Bats was only about a week ago, doing a one-card draw for myself. The message she had for me was simple but hard: be sure of yourself. The Queen of Bats is a woman who knows her place in life. I am not that at the moment, but I want to be. Or rather, I think the more promising point is that she wants me to be assured of my place in the world.

XX Judgment

The Judgment card of the Halloween Tarot

I’ve been judging myself, and finding myself wanting. A couple of relevant keywords for Judgment: Decision, renewal, rebirth, consciousness, forgiveness. Delaying making a decision about how my life is going to look is costing me a huge toll on myself. It’s hard to make a decision, though, with so many factors involved. Still: Judgment seems to be telling me just do it, just go through with what I need to to make my life happen.

XIX The Sun

The Sun card from Halloween Tarot

One constant in my life has been the Sun as a source of energy. It’s one of my spirit energies, really. More than one person has commented on how like sunshine I can be, so whenever I see The Sun in a reading I associate it with being my most sunny self. It’s time for that energy to be my guide just as much as being sure of myself will be.

It’s interesting to me how much the cards are saying “Just be your best self!” Well, all right. Being my best self will at least keep me honest with others and put me on a path to the life I want to be living, right?



Dealing with exhaustion is tiring. I’ve spent the last week wondering where all my energy has gone instead of where all my time has gone. I know where my time is. I just can’t seem to do things as quickly as I used to, nor can I do as much as I used to.

It’s frustrating to think that a couple of years ago, if I were on a trip, I’d be out and about all day and able to keep going the next day. This week, I can only stand to be out for a couple of hours before I lose all my energy. I’m not particularly asthmatic, I seem to be getting enough sleep, I’m eating good amounts through the day… I want to be patient that this too will pass, that this is just my body recovering from a few months of too much stress.

But it’s hard to be patient. It’s hard to let myself take a break. I’m breaking up with societal norms that people can just work all the time and not need breaks. That the body is a machine that keeps on going whether you like it or not. And breaking up with that means wrestling with my doubts about it and the approval of others’.

And yet my body won’t let me NOT take a break. So here I am, doing the best I can to shut down the brain weasels and keep resting, while yearning to go out and do lots of exciting things. It’s a struggle to be okay with where I am right now.