Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Do What You Have to Do

My life has been a journey of recovery in the past couple of years. Like sobriety, choosing to live, and live well has been a conscious effort. Instead of whining about what isn't right, I get out of bed and do what I need to do; work, take care of myself, try to keep my heart open. Weight loss, exercise, eating right, therapy, and actively working to keep a focused, positive mind has not been easy. It is a choice.

Every day you choose what you are going to do, where you work, who you are with. Make peace with it or make a change. Do what you have to to love yourself and create the life you want to live. No one will do it for you.

I've hated my career most days since I started insurance in 2004. In 2013 I started pushing for something different. in 7 weeks, I'll be going back to school to become an art therapist.
Do what you have to do. Take responsibility for yourself, your choices, your happiness. No one else will.

I have bad days. Some days I drink too much, eat crap, am lazy, feel sorry for myself, cry too much, or just have to deal with mental garbage all day. What counts is the overall trajectory. Where are you headed?

The course I set has kept me from loosing my orientation. It kept hopelessness and worthlessness, henchmen of depression at bay. My compass points due north.

Faith and hope. Onward.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Life Writing

My second year of college I had to take English 102 for a second time.  This was not because I did poorly the first time; it was the contrary; I had done well.  It was due to a transfer glitch where my credits did not correspond with the curriculum in a compatible way.  It turns out I should have been put in honors English but had not been (due to the transfer).  There were 2 good outcomes from this unfortunate bit of bureaucracy.  One, it turned out the professor teaching my section was the department chair and was a good teacher and a nice person.  Two, I wrote an essay that supposed what I wanted out of life.  I have never forgotten that essay, even though I no longer have a copy of it.  I wished to own a cottage with a walled garden.  I wished for a studio and a library.  I wished for steady work and security.  I wanted a canoe or a kayak, a dog, and a good bike.  I wanted a nice kitchen to cook good food and enjoy good wine, leisurely, in my garden each evening.

What do I want now?  Health, companionship, good food and drink, a peaceful sanctuary to call my own.  Not much has changed.  I am no longer naive.  I want to do good work that matters.  I want to make my mark on the world and do my part to make the world a little better.  I want good food, good wine, flowers, and a big ole oak tree.  I want leisure time to paint, garden, bike, and read.  I still want to share sunsets and wine, good food, and dreams, and my bed every night with someone I can call my own, my kin.

I am living my life at the pace that is possible and the speed that is comfortable.  I am reaching for the space that is uncomfortable, as Seth Godin would put it.  Hopefully, I'll be able to set down roots and drink deep waters. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Who's to say?

"I will see you again but it will only be in dreams," said Alice.
"What's real and what isn't.  Who's to say?" replied the Hatter knowingly.

Last night I dreamt that my mother visited me.  She apologized for wearing her pajamas.  She said it was hard to find her clothes to make the journey across.  She did have her hair though so she didn't look too bad off to me. 

She gave me a long hug and we both got a little misty around the eyes.  Then with her hands grasping my arms, she said, "You have a good life." 

I thought this morning, "eh, it was just a dream."

Until I saw Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Who's to say?


Sunday, May 29, 2016


I had a dream last week I was living in a storage container.  It was a really sad dream, but understandable since I have moved 15 times in my adult life (16 years) and am planning another move in 2 and a half months. 

I feel like I'm in limbo, just waiting for the next stage of my life to start up.  At least I know what direction I'm going in and there is a plan now. 

I used to be so sure of myself.  I wrote articles and poetry will some success.  Now, I feel like I've lost both my audience and my voice.  I don't know what I have to say.  I don't know what I believe in and what I'm supposed to be doing with it.  I am afraid of scorn as my only reception to my work.  I also wonder if blogging is hubris if it is personal in nature. Yet, I find that the books that touch me the deepest are deeply personal in nature.

Once I get through all this transition, I have a memoir to write.  I don't know when that will be. I know it has to be when I can write without a self-righteously angry tone anymore. 

Am I no longer willing to take risk for the sake of my art? How should I be spending my energy this summer?  How do I feel inspired when I am a participant, not just an observer?  What role does the divine play in my life?

And finally, a quote I came across today, "Grief has no face."  - Cheryl Strayed.  

Friday, October 23, 2015

Shining light on the Dark

I was minding my own business today and suddenly it occurred to me.  I have an addictive personality.  I don't exhibit classic behaviors of a substance abuser.  My addictive traits are much more subtle.  I engage in sensation and thrill seeking behavior.  I get bored easily so I have to amp up the stakes for myself.  Everything I do, I want to do as obsessively and as fast and hard as possible.  I always called that over-achiever. 

I have always been attractive to Type A, super-intense men (romantically, career-wise, and socially).  I can ride their enthusiasm and push my limits that way.  That's thrill seeking.  I have allowed them to enable risky behaviors that I otherwise would be too cowardly to engage in. 

I have always been geared toward indulgent eating.  I drink alcohol and caffeine daily.  Sex, exercise, ritual, BDSM, "adventures", anything to get a shot of adrenaline, oxytocin, or dopamine. 

On March 19th 2013 I did hit rock bottom. 

I dug myself out of the crappy hole I a dug myself into.  I put down a lot of boundaries and promised myself to learn a new way and not get myself in such a pickle again. 

I keep learning.  Life is much better and I am still learning. 

I choose a path of moderation.  I can get probably more well-being from exercise than I can from coffee, sugar, and alcohol.  Time to clean up my mess.  This is the path to stability, weight-loss, mental health, and balance. 

It's finally time to quit giving in to restlessness and temptation.  The only way I can reach my dreams is through focus and discipline.  There's a new way to guide the future with productive intensity. 

Now, its time to make plans and shoot for the stars. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Seeking the Underlying Translation of the Image

So tonight I attended the first tele-seminar for the Beginning Dream Analysis course with the Assisi Institute.  After being tired for weeks and dragging myself through my job and the burden of life's challenges, I feel alive and excited!  I am finally lapping back around to the core of what I really want to be doing.

As I was listening, to Dr. Conforti speak, I was looking around at the art pieces I have decorating my bedroom.  Most of the images are of the the maternal feminine and the archetype of the priestess.  Some of the images are about union of male and female, sacred female sexuality, and the stages of a woman's life.  Several of the images are nude, a peculiarity that is often pointed out to me by uncomfortable observers visiting my home.  During 2013, I mourned these images, as I felt out of water, that I had left the mantle of priestess behind.  Tonight, however, I realized that I couldn't put these images away because I have, and still am living the story of the Persephone myth.  My raven tattoos and collections of ravens, augury, mirrors, trance work, priestessing, and leading ritual, all of these things are aspects of Persephone.

I have had a deep connection with the spirits of the dead and otherworldly things my whole life.  I was obsessed with Halloween as a kid.  Edgar Allen Poe was my favorite poet.  Lewis Carroll, my favorite author.  I have often drawn mirrors, spirals, dreaming of falling, all these things aspects of the underworld journey.  My personal astrology and transits scream Persephone.  My personal relationships too-  my father was a strong benefic, like Jupiter or Zeus.  My romantic relationships were controlling possessions and involved violence, rape, and coercion.  Now, I have gone back into the sun, knowing I will forever be returning to the delve into the depth of the ancestors, the dead, the dying, and the grieving.  I will forever be fascinating in the plumbing the depths, falling through the rabbit hole.

Based on my life, my age, my experiences, I may always wind up being whole unto myself as well.  I may not wind up with a traditional long term relationship or children.  I may fulfill the mother archetype by creating the therapeutic container and being the generative mother in that way.  The work of therapist, guide, and mentor is important, worthwhile work as well.  Once Persephone becomes queen, she has power of her own.  She is no longer defined by her relationship to her powerful mother Demeter.  She is no longer the abducted kore, captured by the dark Lord of the Underworld either.  She is a Goddess and queen in her own right.

I too, no longer have the earthly presence of my mother as support and guide.  I guided her over the River Styx, much as she guided me into this world and into adulthood.

On my own I make the next descent.  I am ready and willing and attend to this work by my own volition and by my own power.

Blessings on the path ahead.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

So much energy, so little focus

And now for something completely different...and serious...

Some people know my history of working low magick.  Some on this list don't.  I dabbled a bit the first couple of years with detrimental results.  At the ages of 17 through 20+ I didn't know what I wanted and sabotaged myself a lot with my magick.  In the words of Ego Likeness, I got just what I needed the most just when I wanted it least. 

So I took a break from low magick and focused on high magick ritual.  I realized in 2008 or 2009 that this was a cop out and boned up on low magick and spell craft.  I tried a lot of things that didn't work and I got great results when I was both really clear on what I wanted and harnessed energies I fully had embodied in my understanding.  I do very well with planetary magick.  I do well will green magick and devotional work with Gods with whom I have established relationships.  The stuff that didn't work I either didn't empower properly or was giving the wheel to the men in my life so that I was only in a supportive role. 

In 2013 I went down a path that led to the completion of my 3rd degree work and coincidentally, to the destruction of my life as I knew it as well as my personality, spiritual compass, health --everything.  I spent the next two years doing self work, rebuilding my mundane life, and caring for my mother who was diagnosed with incurable cancer in 2014 and passed in July of 2015. 

Get this though, without the destruction of everything I would not have worked through some major emotional and mental hangups I had to growth.  I would not have gotten out of horrible relationships.  I would have lost my sanity permanently.  I am physically and mentally healthier than I have ever been.  I have had valuable time with my parents I wouldn't have gotten otherwise.  I am completely debt free and have 6 months of my expenses saved up in an emergency fund.  I am saving for retirement.  I did wonderfully on the GRE's and am in the process of applying to school to pursue the career I've dreamt about since before I graduated from undergrad in 2003!  Life force moves in my life and things have fallen into place in incredible ways.  Mostly I have not done "spell craft" per say to get these things.  However, I have used sigils, astrology, influence, NLP, harnessed desire, petitions, and a lot of planning and visualizing to make a lot of this happen.  It's been crazy amazing how well things have gone for me in the past 2 years.

Now the universe is throwing a lot of abundance at me with a ton of options.  I know in general what I want but I am concerned what I want isn't singular enough for me to successfully focus on through spell work.  In the mundane world, I am applying to 4 schools and will be applying for assistantships and scholarships.  I am pretty sure I will be able to be accepted by several of these schools.  I cannot afford my top choice without a full scholarship or assistantship.  I can afford two of the other choices without financial assistance.  Yet, the easiest choice I have a pretty good chance for an assistantship. 

I don't know what I want!  A lot of the options look good!  I want to trust that what will be best will work out, yet I also want to make sure I get some money for it. 

I'm getting excited and nervous and antsy.  I need to be using this amped up energy to make shit happen!  Yet here I am wondering how to focus on it. 

This much I do know:
I want to be an art therapist and then go for a PhD in Jungian psychology.  I want to work with a hospital and/or hospice to work with 4th stage oncology patients and end stage cancer patients. 
I HAVE narrowed my choices down to 4 schools:
George Washington University, Alexandria VA
Florida State University, Tallahassee FL
Ursuline College, Pepper Pike OH
Saint Mary of-the-Woods, an online program based outside of Indianapolis, IN

GW is my top choice.  They have the best program in the country and I have a support system there, and I'd be close to where I grew up which is cool too culturally.  I cannot afford this program without a full ride.  It is insanely expensive.  I will not mortgage (read death-grip) my mind.  They do have a 3 year option so I could spread it out and work more than I could in a 2 year program.  I visited them a couple of weeks ago and was very impressed with their facilities, students, and staff.

FSU has a great program and I could stay closer to my family and its in state.  Its the most affordable option.  I also have met the chair and think I have a good chance of getting assistance.  If I don't, I can afford this option if I have to, though I'd have to work quite a bit to make that work while I'm in school.  

Ursuline is a small women's college and I enjoy the small communal atmosphere of small schools.  Its a bit too expensive to pay for on my own, but I will see what I can do as far as scholarships go.  They also have classes scheduled in evenings and weekends so it would make it a lot easier to work almost full-time while I was there.  The have rolling enrollment too so I could start there sooner than at GW or FSU.  Downside, lake effect and a new place I've never lived before.  I'd also be far away from my family.  Looks like I might have magickal friends waiting for me there as well.  very tempting...

Saint Marys is online so I could keep my job and stay near my Dad.  We could continue to share living expenses and I don't have to move again.  The program is extended so I could more easily pay for this option out of pocket without dipping into my savings.  I am concerned that the internships and clinical as well as dissertation experience is lacking in this school.  I would wind up with the licensure and technical skills I need to practice, but  I am afraid that it would not prepare me for a competitive PhD program. 

I'm doing all the mundane stuff I need to in order to actualize my dreams.  Now I need to figure out what magickal actions to take to give it a better push.